Iran Nuclear Drive May End Arming Terrorists, Barak Tells CNN

Iran’s determination to build nuclear weapons will result in nations such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey seeking nuclear arms, starting a “countdown” to terrorists getting nuclear materials, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

“People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons,” Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” in an interview to be aired today. “The countdown toward nuclear materials in the hands of terrorists will start, even if it takes half a generation. But more than this, they will use the nuclear umbrella to kind of intimidate neighbors all around the Gulf to sponsor terror.”

Iran may face more international sanctions after a report last week by the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said there was “credible” evidence showing Iran worked on bomb components until at least 2010. The country is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions.

Iran, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-biggest producer, has dismissed the charges, called the evidence fake and said it only wants atomic power.

Barak also predicted the downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad within a year. The deaths of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein have made al-Assad’s response to the Arab Spring uprisings against his rule “more brutal, because he understands that, beyond a certain point, there is no way,” Barak said. “It’s literally a struggle for life or death.”

Speaking yesterday at a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Barak said Assad “went beyond the point of no return.” There is “no way he will resume his authority or legitimacy,” he said.

People within the Syrian security services, armed forces and civil service are beginning to assess when the end of the regime will come and to “hedge their personal bets,” he said.

The international response, particularly from the Arab League, Jordan and Turkey, are “real signals that there is an acceleration towards the end of this regime,” he said. “Probably next year we won’t have to have a session about Syria.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Meera Louis in Washington at mlouis1@bloomberg.net; Chris Fournier in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Cfournier3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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