In another of several interviews he has given this past week on the Iranian issue, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is hinting that in time is running out to stop Iran from achieving nuclear capability.
In an interview to CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”, which will air on Sunday and of which an advanced transcript was released on Saturday, Barak says that Iran is less than a year away from becoming unstoppable in its goal to produce a nuclear weapon.
When asked by the host whether Israel is going to attack Iran, Barak says, “I don’t think that that is a subject for public discussion. But I can tell you that the IAEA report has a sobering impact on many in the world…and people understand that the time has come... People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons. No other possible or conceivable explanation for what they have been actually doing. And that should be stopped.”
Zakaria also asks Barak about President Barack Obama’s support for Israel, in light of the criticism that has been pointed at the President because of policy regarding Israel.
“He is extremely strong supporter of Israel in regard to its security,” Barak responds. “Traditionally, the president will support Israel in keeping its collective military edge and taking care of its security needs. But this administration is excelling in this. And it could not have happened without the immediate direct support of the president. So I don’t think that anyone can raise any question mark about the devotion of this president to the security of Israel.”
In the past week Barak has given several interviews in the media in which he addressed Iran’s nuclear program.
On Wednesday, he told PBS’ Charlie Rose that the only way to get Iran to drop its nuclear program using negotiations would be if the world, including Russia, China and India, “joins hands” and sanctions Iran.
In the same interview, Barak said that if he were the Iranians, he’d “probably” want a nuclear weapon as well.
On Thursday, Barak told Kol Yisrael radio that although Israel was trying to convince members of the international community to economically isolate Iran, he did not think that effort would work. Despite his pessimism, he said, Israel needed to continue working through diplomatic channels – and avoid the alternative.
In the same interview, Barak tried to defend himself for telling Charlie Rose that if he were Iranian he’d probably want a nuclear bomb, saying that he had no “empathy” with Iran.
“We must make clear to the world that we understand the situation and are ready to deal with it, and that this is a challenge not just for us, but for the whole world,” Barak said, skirting the question on his comment. When pressed, Barak simply said that his comment was taken out of context.
His remarks resulted in MKs and political officials from left to right castigating him.