Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who is visiting the UK, told the Daily Telegraph that Iran chose to delay its nuclear programme over the summer, but that the “moment of truth” is likely to arrive within the coming eight to ten months.
In the interview, Barak said that Iran decided to divert around one third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian use over the summer, delaying the point at which it could have been used to construct a nuclear bomb. Barak offered several reasons why such a decision had been made, but concluded that it “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to 10 months.”
Although he acknowledged that international sanctions on Iran are “unprecedented in scale and depth,” he said “I am extremely sceptical about the chances that it will lead the ayatollahs…to give up their intention…to turn into a military nuclear power.” As such, Barak emphasised that “When it comes to the very core of our security interests…we cannot delegate the responsibility for making decisions even into the hands of our most trusted and trustworthy ally,” warning that “if no one acts, we will have to contemplate action.”
In a similar interview in the Times, Barak gave a more regional security overview, outlining the Iranian nuclear situation and the terrorist threat to Israel from the Sinai Peninsula. He gave particular attention to the danger that should the Assad regime in Syria collapse, chemical weapons could be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Barak warned that “We are determined not to let it happen because it will change the very delicate balance in Lebanon right now… We are watching and we are ready to act.”
Barak delivered a similar summary of the regional threats to Israel yesterday evening in a speech at the BICOM annual dinner. The speech can be read here.