The recent explosions in Iran – possibly affecting that country's nuclear facilities, according to some reports – were not part of a “shadow war” against Iran's nuclear program, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday night. In an interview on Channel Two Saturday night, Barak said that “Iran's nuclear program must be fought with all means possible, but the recent explosions are not the beginning of an attack. All sorts of things have been happening there for years. But it would be better not to speak about these things on television.”
Barak was responding in part to comments made Friday night by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who urged Israel not to act along against Iran. Any such actions against Iran needed to be decided upon by the U.S. and Israel together.
Barak said that the battle against Iran was playing out in the realm of diplomacy and economic sanctions. When asked by an interviewer if that battle had been expanded to sabotage, and if the recent mysterious explosions in Iran were due to that sabotage, Barak said that he did not believe so. “Iran is closer to a nuclear bomb. The sanctions must be quicker, tougher, and more decisive. The Iranians are working to ensure that their nuclear program is protected from interference. We cannot wait to see if they are successful in developing a weapon and then act. What if we will be unable to act at that time?” he asked.
Barak added that Israel and the U.S. were fully coordinated on their actions regarding Iran. “We are in constant talks with the Americans,” he said. “I met Panetta a dozen times in the past two to three years. We have had very frank direct talks. Right now there is no disagreement on the need for sanctions. But we cannot take any options off the table,” Barak said, adding that regardless, “Israel is responsible for its own security, future and survival, and we cannot give up our need to make decisions as a sovereign nation.”