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Israeli defense minister calls for sanctions against Iran

March 1st, 2010
04:03 AM ET

To watch the full-length edition with Ehud Barak, click here to get our podcast.

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR

(CNN) - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called Saturday for new sanctions against Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, encouraging the financial pressure to continue "until it becomes effective."

But he warned that sanctions won't be successful unless Russia and China back them, adding "we recommend to all players not to remove any option from the table."

Barak made the comments to CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview to be aired Sunday.

Speaking after extensive talks with top U.S. officials and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Barak declined to be specific about what might happen if sanctions do not deter Iran. But he said he wanted to see results within months not years.

Israel, the United States, and many other countries say Iran is moving closer to building a nuclear weapon, a charge that Iran denies. Tehran says its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes.

// Barak said Tehran is clearly headed toward nuclear missile capability.

"They're trying to defeat and defy the whole world," he said.

"They have two examples in mind," he said of Iran's nuclear ambitions. "One is Pakistan, which they feel somewhat similar (to). And the other is North Korea. And in those two cases they were successful against sanctions."

Barak predicted a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if Iran successfully builds nuclear weapons, saying Saudi Arabia will "turn nuclear in a few months," and Turkey and Egypt will probably follow shortly thereafter.

He praised the Obama administration for addressing the issue and pushing for sanctions against Iran, despite a heavy burden of domestic and international commitments.

"I think we (Israel and the U.S.) both agree (sanctions) should be effective," he said. "We recommend to all players not to remove any option from the table. And we live by what we recommend to others."

Asked if Israel fears an attack by Hezbollah, an organization supported by Iran and Syria, Barak said: "I'm not sure whether we are going to face a pre-emptive attack, but anyhow, we are not interested in conflict in the north or in the east. But if it is imposed on us, we know how to respond."

Asked whether the U.N.-sponsored Goldstone Report accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes in their war a year ago could make Israel "think twice" about how to conduct a future war, Barak said "no."

"We always try to improve ourselves, but we don't need the Goldstone report for this. We started an investigation into the details of what happened (in Gaza) long before Goldstone wrote his report."

He added, "I would like to say something about Goldstone. I see that after seven years of suffering thousands of rockets, terrorizing our civilian population around the Gaza Strip, Israel had the right and the duty to respond. ... Goldstone's report is biased, distorted, and totally unexplainable in my judgment, and it even encourages terror."

Barak declined to comment on the assassination of a top Hamas official in Dubai last month that many are blaming on Israel's external intelligence service, Mossad.

But he did talk about an undercover mission he took part in back in 1973 when he dressed up as a woman. That mission ended with the killing of three high-ranking Palestinian Liberation Organization men in Beirut.

"I never killed Palestinians per se," he said. "I killed terrorists who were directly responsible for the killing - indiscriminate killing - of civilians."


Filed under:  Iran • Israel
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. orly giro

    Hello christine
    my name orly' i lives in Israel, I follow your program on T.V. which i think, is an excellent program and i think that you are a gentel person,
    the first time i met you was a good restaurant in paris, called l'enrecot in elize blvd ten years ago , straight recognize you as reporter very intrigued by wars.
    I served the israeli Army and also my 3 children.
    I wanted to note we are a very moral though the media see it differently, we are very human about the palestinians people , and we wants peace with all the states around as. I volunteer at a hospital treated a lot of sick children from Gaza and the westbank get warm and dedicated care, I keep in tuch with 2 girls from Gaza, warm reletion, the context of the last war in Gaza, we did owr best to harm civilians, but Hamas refers to children as human shields. it is clear that there are mistakes in war.
    we are want peace with the palestinias people.
    A famous palestinias doctor said, we are like siiamim twins second injured when one dies and vice versa,
    we must be careful, not only us but the whole world, about Irans president says that to delete the Hebrew state, just mention the history of the time of hitler , and his colleagues Hizballa, Syria and Hamas, verey disturbing that such people with morbid ideas .

    Thank you christine for your reference.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  2. Gust

    I beleive the current regime in Iran is capalbe of doing anything including making atomic bomb. This regime has this belief that destruction of Isreal is the KEY to the Heaven. I also beleive if they are given this opportunity, they will make the bomb and they will drop it on the Isreal. So any delays by the UN to stop the Regime is nothing but to give them the chance to reach their dirty dreams/ One more thing, being a laier in Islamic world is not bad as long as it is not aginst the Islamic believe. So, one should be very naive if thinks that the regime currently running Iran is telling the truth about their peacufl aims to build all these nuclear plants! The only goal of the Islamic Regime in Iran is to build the atomic bomb and use it to their nasty fantesies.

    March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  3. Elke, Germany

    In some ways I can understand both, the Israelis and on the other hand the Palestinians.
    It can´t be that Israelis living near the Gaza strips got shot with rockets and the Israeli government wouldn´t do anything.
    On the other hand living in the Gaza strip must be a pain. I can understand the people, that they are angry when Israel is closing the crossings and no supplies can come in.
    In my eyes the actual Israeli government hasn´t the people to get the things in the right direction. I think Liebermann and some others cause more harm as getting peace talks underway.
    Whom of the two Palestinians groups should Israel trust? Hamas has often said, that they won´t recognize Israel. Without the recognition of Israel, all peace talks will fail. But as long as this discord between the Palestinians will exist, Israel will not do much.
    Finally to Iran. I think Ehud Barak is right. There must be sanctions.
    But when these sanctions should be successful, Russia and China must support them.

    March 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  4. Sayan Majumdar

    Christiane, the recent Iranian crisis engulfs the potential of a direct conflict between Israel and Iran. Lacking strategic depth and situated in hostile surroundings Israel understandably carries on a pro-active military policy and under no circumstances will allow the emergence of a nuclear weapons armed Iran. As Iran’s aspiration to emerge as a nuclear weapons power will perpetually complicate strategic equations in the both in Middle East and South Asia, Israel may well decides to pre-empt a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Do remember, in accordance to “Begin doctrine” put forward by ex Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israeli Defence Force-Air Force (IDF-AF) F-16s destroyed the Iraqi plutonium-producing Osiraq research reactor in a daring air raid on June 7, 1981 to “block any attempt by adversaries to acquire nuclear weapons”. Top cover was provided by the IDF-AF F-15s.

    The present IDF-AF strike platform combination of “next-generation” F-15I Ra’am (Thunder),( itself a heavily customised variant of United States Air Force (USAF) operated F-15E ‘Strike Eagle’) and F-16I Soufa (Storm) (based on current Block 50/52 production aircraft developed on the basis of the F-16ES “Enhanced Strategic” long-range interdictor F-16 proposal) enhances Israel's deterrent strategy by further strengthening the potential threat to carry out retaliatory strikes throughout the Middle East thanks to Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) plus provisions for Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR).

    More importantly the “silent striker” could well be Israeli Navy operated German built Dolphin Class conventional powered hunter-killer submarines (SSK) reportedly capable of launching cruise missiles with nuclear or conventional warheads with high degree of accuracy. Capable of stealthy positioning of itself at suitable launch points for its missiles the Dolphin Class SSKs are reportedly exercised extensive patrolling in both stretches of Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

    Sayan.

    March 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  5. Mohyeddin Kassar

    Dear Ms. Amanpour:
    I would like to congratulate you on the great interview you had with Mr. Ihoud Barak. It has been a while since I have seen journalists asking the right and courageous questions in our media. This courage and professionalism is getting scarcer day after day in mainstream media. We loved you a lot when you were reporting from the field. And here we go, it looks you are making us love you when you report “live” from a studio. I wished that Mr. Barak was more forthcoming and more direct in replying to your questions. However, at least you did your side of the job.

    Thanks a lot and Keep up the good job.
    Mohyeddin Kassar
    Hillside, IL

    March 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  6. adam

    i am disgusted at ehud barak an isreal as it was clear from the interview that the murder of the hamas man in dubia was the work of isreal after all his silence on the topic answers everything that they were behind it and lets see the un charge isreal on breaking international law of assasinations ,

    March 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  7. Fred Brun

    Christiane

    Good interview!
    If Barak would agree to IAEA inspections of all its nuclear activities I would agree with his request of sanctions. However, we all know that this is not going to happen! Iran has not attacked its neighbours. Israel has a track record of doing so. The US with its never-ending vetoes against UN resolutions which are directed at the state of Israel, has contributed to Israel having become a rogue state.

    To Elke, Germany
    Your blog is good willed but extremely naive. The Germans have a tendency to go to extremes. Good or bad. What would you do if your family is murdered, your house destroyed, your land stolen and this has happend to your society for 60 years? In Europe during WWII we called peole like the Palestinians, Freedom fighters, Partisans, Resistance fighters, do you remember?

    March 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  8. Moira

    It all began after the first World War when British and the French cut up the middle East took part of Lebanon with the supposedly idea of setting up a christian state(The British ideals of outsource) . And we honestly believe there will be peace in this region? And here we are, in the 21st century the tremor of the middle east crisis is globalised. The security threat of home grown terrorist is a policy priority in developed economies.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Reply
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