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      Barak: We'll Have to Make Decisions on Iran

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak: Nuclear Iran would lead to a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 7/26/2012, 12:16 AM

      Ehud Barak
      Ehud Barak
      Flash 90

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday that Israel will soon need to reach decisions regarding Iran.

      Speaking during a graduation ceremony at the National Security College, Barak said, “The State of Israel is facing some of the most complex challenges which its security and political leadership has ever had to face.

      “We may be required to make difficult decisions concerning the national security of Israel and ensuring its future,” he said. “The whole region around us has been turbulent and noisy for almost two years, instability is increasing and security challenges grew each day. The events of the Arab Spring which gradually became an Islamic Summer teach us that in the ultimate test we can rely only on ourselves.

      “I am well aware of and know the difficulties and complexities involved in thwarting Iran’s achievement of nuclear weapons,” said Barak. “However, I know beyond a doubt that dealing with the challenge itself would be infinitely more complex, infinitely more dangerous and far more expensive in terms of both human lives as well as resources.”

      Barak stressed that “A nuclear Iran is a threat to international order. It will lead to an arms race throughout the Middle East.”

      Regarding Syria, the defense minister said, "We are closely following the developments in Syria. We said and we mean it that the State of Israel cannot accept the transfer of advanced weapons systems from Syria to Hizbullah. A massacre and murder of citizens by government forces is going on Syria as the entire world watches.

      “Bashar Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule. It seems that every day that passes brings the end of the current regime closer. The difficulty of the international community in formulating a response to present bloodshed and death of innocents can be a lesson for us and illustrate the limitations of the ability of the international community to mobilize political will, unity of purpose and ability to function even when the situation requires it.”

      Barak also addressed Israel’s relations with Turkey, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this week that Israel wants to improve its relations with Turkey.

      “Turkey alongside Israel is a key strategic factor in achieving a stable or appropriate regional equilibrium, and hence the importance of bringing relations with Turkey back to normal.”