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Barak on Wednesday
Photo: Yaron Brener
Netanyahu
Photo: AFP
Barak: Nuclear Iran more dangerous than strike
Defense minister says that while strike on Iran's atom facilities has its complexities, dealing with a nuclear Islamic Republic could be substantially more dangerous; sanctions, diplomacy not enough, he says
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has alluded yet again on Wednesday to a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, suggesting that the military option could be prefarble to a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic.

 

"I am well aware of the difficulties and complexities involved in stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but it is abundantly clear to me that dealing with the (alternative) situation when it unfolds would be substantially more complex, more dangerous and more costly both to lives and resources," Barak said.

 

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Speaking during a graduation ceremony held at the National Security College, Barak asserted that while diplomatic measures and economic sanctions imposed on Iran have grown more potent, "they are not enough to stop Iran's nuclear program."

 

"The US understands that the State of Israel, and only the State of Israel, is responsible for its fate," he added.

 

PM hints at defense budget reform

The ceremony, which was held at the Glilot campus, was also attended by IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opted to congratulate the graduates with a recorded message, in which he too addressed matters of national security.

 

Netanyahu hinted that alterations to Israel's defense budget could be imminent in light of the escalating violence in Syria.

 

"Large weapons caches in the region" could fall into the wrong hands, he said, adding that "the situation requires changes to Israel's power structure. Reforms in the State's defense budget are a possibility."

 

Syria's chemical weapons have become a hot-button issue in recent days, after President Bashar Assad's opponents have claimed that the regime could use the ruinous gases against rebels. Israeli officials have raised the concern that the chemical warfare agents could fall into the hands of Hezbollah.

 

Last Friday, Barak said that Israel is closely monitoring the situation in Syria and that the IDF has been instructed to prepare for a possible confrontation. Gantz, however, warned on Tuesday that Israel could find itself implicated in a major war if it decides to strike Syria's chemical weapon caches.

 

 

 

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