Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated on Wednesday that a nuclear Iran would have dangerous consequences on the Middle East and the entire world.
In an interview on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS, Barak said that the recent IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program left no room for mistakes regarding Iran’s intentions.
“It’s clear that they are determined to reach nuclear capability,” Barak said. “None of the series of experiments that they were running can be explained other than their pursuing a nuclear military capability. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.”
Barak admitted that if he were the Iranians, he’d “probably” want a nuclear weapon as well. He said that Iran is likely not aiming to achieve a nuclear weapon just because of Israel.
“They’re looking around and seeing that India is nuclear, that the Chinese are nuclear, that Pakistan is nuclear, even small South Korea is - not to mention the Russians,” he said. “Saddam tried it, Bashar al-Assad tried, Qaddafi tried it, Israeli allegedly has it.”
He added, “It doesn’t matter, because the Middle East with a nuclear Iran is a totally different place…They are different. The world can afford the United States being nuclear. Under certain conditions it can afford Russia or China, even India [to have nuclear weapons]…but think of it: if Iran goes nuclear, there’s no way the Saudis won’t go nuclear. There will be no way to block the Turks from going nuclear. Probably even a future government in Egypt [will want nuclear weapons]. This will open a new round of a nuclear arms race under much less responsible hands. It’s too risky.”
When asked whether there is a way to get Iran to drop its nuclear program using negotiations, Barak said that this would be possible if the world, including Russia, China and India, joins hands and sanctions Iran.
“If they join hands and explicitly tell them, ‘We are going to block any financial transactions with your central bank and any other financial institutions’ - that would push the Iranian leadership into a corner,” he said.
“I’m convinced that if such crippling sanctions would materialize, they will have to stop it,” Barak added. “But I have no illusions that that’s going to happen. The Chinese, the Russians and other countries for their own reasons feel that this would cause major damage and I can understand it.”
Rose asked Barak about the possibility of a military strike on Iran, to which Barak replied, “We think that any means should be used, and at the same time we recommend to our friends in the world not to remove any option from the table.”