News

    No Softening on Iran: Israeli Defense Minister

    Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivers a speech to the Foreign Press Association members in Jerusalem, April 30, 2012.
    Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivers a speech to the Foreign Press Association members in Jerusalem, April 30, 2012.
    Scott Bobb

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is maintaining the government's hard line against Iran's nuclear program, saying Israel will not be duped by negotiations, and warning that an attack is not out of the question. But leaders of Israel's security services have expressed strong reservations about the effectiveness of a military strike against Iran, and its repercussions.

    On Monday, Barak acknowledged that stiff new sanctions against Iran helped restart talks between Iran and the group of six world powers known as the P-5 +1 - Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

    "Today sanctions are stronger than ever," said Barak. "They forced the Iranians to take note, to sit down and to talk. The P-5+1 engagement of Iran, however, does not fill me with confidence. I may sound pessimistic, but the State of Israel cannot afford to be duped."

    Barak also accused the Iranian government of seeking to buy time to make its alleged nuclear weapons program immune from military attacks.

    The defense minister has been one of the strongest supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline position against Iran's nuclear activities, which Israel believes are aimed at making nuclear weapons.

    But leaders of Israel's security services have expressed strong reservations about whether military action would be effective in stopping Iran's suspect activities.

    Western powers lately have suggested that Iran be allowed to retain enough uranium enrichment capabilities to support nuclear medicine and generation of electrical power.  They see a military strike as the last option.

    Barak told foreign journalists in Jerusalem that in his view, Iran is not to be trusted.

    "Iranian deception and lies concerning their nuclear program have been on-going and well-documented," said Barak.  "Yet parts of the world, including some politically motivated Israeli figures, prefer to bury their heads in sand."

    Iran has pledged to retaliate for any attack.  But Barak said as long as Tehran maintains what he called its goal of destroying the Israeli state and supports international terrorism, it must be prevented from becoming a nuclear power.

    "A military option is not a simple one," Barak added.  "It will be complicated with certain associated risks. But a radical Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons would be far more dangerous both to the region and, indeed, to the whole world."

    He said his primary responsibility as defense minister is to ensure that Israel's fate remains in its own hands.

    Still, some Israelis prefer to wait and see. Sanctions should be given a chance, said Eitan Livne, nn Iran analyst in Israel.

    "Sanctions are meant to make the last resort, the military option, unnecessary. So before we admit that sanctions have failed we must give them a real try," he said.

    If the sanctions fail, Livne said, the international community should then reassess its strategy.

    But political analysts note that Israel appears to be entering an election campaign period. Many opposition leaders have begun calling for the dissolution of parliament and elections within the next six months.

    Hebrew University Professor Abraham Diskin said as a result, the issue of whether to attack Iran is likely to be placed on a back burner as candidates and voters focus on domestic issues.

    "I don't think any move of Israel is going to be decided according to domestic or electoral consideration. It's too heavy of an issue. It's too existential on the one hand and the risk is too heavy on the other hand," said Diskin.

    And he said although a military attack might provide a temporary boost to political leaders, they are not likely to undertake such a risky foreign mission during an electoral campaign.

    Finally, the U.S. presidential campaign is also affecting the possibility of a military strike on Iran.

    Public opinion polls have shown that less than half of the Israeli public supports an independent strike against Iran, while nearly three-fourths support a strike with U.S. backing.

    View the timeline of Key Dates in Israel-Iran Relations

    Loading timeline...
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Gab to George
    May 04, 2012 2:47 PM
    The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of nations agreeing to neutrality. So, while they support Iran's right to have nuclear energy, they cannot support Iran's right to ignore, misinform, or misstate the facts to the United Nations regarding their atomic program. The Iranian leader is a proven certified knucklehead "we have no homosexuals in Iran" "the holocaust is a myth" and he compared the passions of the Green Movement to that of a soccer match. You probably support that as well.

    by: Gab to George, "who is the world?"
    May 04, 2012 1:46 PM
    All I can do is read the reports, statements, testimonials, and other documents from the UN websites. So again, I ask you what is your primary source of factual documents? You fail to respond every time. You use words like "Amano is an idiot", "facts seem to be irrelevant to you", " a stooge of the US", but fail to be specific. You say the the US and Israel are the biggest terrorists. I read all the foreign press and fail to see a basis to support that statement.

    by: Gab to George, "who is the world?"
    May 04, 2012 6:44 AM
    The IAEA Board of Governors found Iran in non-compliance with its 'NPT Safeguards Agreement", concluding in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions, that Iran's past safeguards "breaches" and "failures" constituted "non-compliance" with its Safeguards Agreement. The General Conference is made up of all 151 member states (each with one vote). It meets once a year to approve the actions passed on from the Board of Governors.

    by: George
    May 04, 2012 3:48 AM
    George to Gab: Why are you so sensitive? You don't seem to know anything about NPT. Enrichment is the inherent right of NPT members. There is no "defiance" of the World. Next, we'll ask Brazil to stop enriching. Do you know who the World is: US and its lackeys in Europe. Please don’t start me on terrorism. The US and Israel are the biggest terrorist states in the world. E.g., CIA sponsors the Jundullah terrorists. Hezbollah and Hamas are NOT terrorists. They exist to stop the Israeli barbarians.

    by: Gab to George
    May 03, 2012 8:57 AM
    again, you are worried about what I believe instead of concerning yourself with what they believe. And if the Islamic Republic is going to stand up to the rest of the world, enrich uranium unrestricted, and support known terrorists, then they should have at least one good ally besides Bashar al-Assad.

    by: George
    May 02, 2012 6:10 PM
    George to Gab: So, you are an atheist? So am I. So, what is all this concern about the second coming? There are still at least 20,000 Jews in Iran. Did you watch the YouTube video that I suggested ("Jews in Iran")? You talk nonsense. Iran has no interest in “rallying” the Muslim world. Most Sunnis hate Shiites anyway. As for the November IAEA report, it was pure garbage. It was based on forged document. Amano is an idiot. Take my word for it. I have only 500 characters here.

    by: Gab to Jay, No one wants to bomb Iran,
    May 02, 2012 2:34 PM
    only two nuclear facilities. The Islamic Republic knows it cannot join the arms race, so what is their plan? They have been unsuccessful in rallying the Muslim world, so what is their plan? Even senior Chinese envoy last month urged Iran to cooperate with the UN. IAEA in November issued a report saying Iran was engaged in activities that strongly suggested it was researching an atomic weapon and the capacity to put a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile. That's suicide!

    by: Jay
    May 02, 2012 12:12 PM
    Iran has already relocated core programs. Bombing Iran is just silly at this point.

    by: Gab to George
    May 02, 2012 10:58 AM
    You are judging me instead of the facts. I am an American of mixed heritage, an atheist, and a Constitutionalist who believes in the separation of Church and State. Quit deflecting, most Jews have left Iran as did they from the rest of the Middle East. Christians are moving out in mass as well. Iranian Jews can only be estimated due to the community’s isolation from world Jewry. Any contact with Israel is a death sentence for spying. 13 have been executed under this administration so far.

    by: George
    May 02, 2012 10:09 AM
    George to Josh: Search for "The rumor of the century," and get over this childish nonsense. Have you heard of free speech? Iranians attack the US verbally for its many misdeeds. So what? I can call you a kangaroo. Does that make you a kangaroo?

    So, you think Iranians hate the Jews? Iran is the home of the largest population of Jews in the Middle East after Israel. Go to YouTube and look for a video called “Jews in Iran.”
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora