Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Israel decision on Iran attack 'far away'

JERUSALEM — Any decision by Israel on whether to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities remains "very far away," Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday as tension mounted between Iran and the West.

"We don't have a decision to go forward with these things. We don't have a decision or a date for taking such a decision. This whole thing is very far away," Barak told army radio.

Washington has been spearheading a campaign for much tougher sanctions against the Iranian economy, in a bid to rein in Tehran's nuclear programme which Israel and Western governments suspect masks a drive for a weapons capability.

Barak said Israel did not believe that Iran had yet made a decision to move to actual production of a nuclear warhead.

"The Iranians have not ended the oversight exercised by the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said.

"They haven't done that because they know that that would constitute proof of the military nature of their nuclear programme and that would provoke stronger international sanctions or other types of action against their country," he said.

Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, has said an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state.

It has not ruled out resorting to military action to prevent any possibility of the Islamic republic developing one. Read More