Intelligence Minister: If I were Khamenei, I'd Worry
Minister of Intelligence, Dan Meridor, said in an interview Saturday that Iran is refraining from making a breakthrough to a nuclear weapon because it fears the world's reaction.
Speaking on Channel 2 television's Meet the Press, Meridor said: "The Iranians are not breaking through toward [nuclear] weapons because they are afraid of the international campaign that [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is leading."
In reference to U.S. President Barack Obama's statement that the U.S. would not be content with containing the Iranian nuclear weapon threat, Meridor said: "If I were [Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah] Khamenei, I'd be worried by that statement."
"We have not achieved the goal of stopping the Iranian program," he admitted, "but the pressure continues."
"Sanctions have not done what they were supposed to but they did prevent the surge forward [by Iran]," he opined. "The Iranians are afraid of the possibility that there will be a grave reaction by the world – sanctions and war."
"I think we need to see this in a balanced way," he added, and downplayed reports that U.S.-Israel relations are strained. He said that Israel's view of the situation is not very different from the American one: "We only go to war when there is no other way."
Meridor is considered by some nationalist analysts to be the most left-leaning of the Likud ministers. He is reportedly opposed to an Israeli strike on Iran.