Barak Says Sanctions Won’t Halt Iran's Nuclear Work

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he doesn’t think the current sanctions against Iran will persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear program and that Israel hasn’t decided how to respond.

“I don’t believe that this amount of sanctions and pressure will bring the Iranian leadership to the conclusion that they have to stop their nuclear military program,” Barak said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program.

Israel has threatened military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and U.S. officials have refused to rule out the use of force against Iran.

“We don’t have any decision about what to do or a date for decision,” Barak said in the interview, taped April 5 for broadcast today. “But it’s clear that, for us, it’s critical.”

Israel is convinced that dealing with a nuclear-armed Iran “will be much more complicated, much more danger, much more costly in terms of both the human life as well as the financial resources,” Barak said.

Iranian lawmaker Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said Iran has the capability to produce nuclear weapons, though it won’t do so, the Associated Press reported yesterday, citing an interview with the Iranian parliament’s website, icana.ir.

Limited Time

“We have limited time,” Barak said on CNN. “We don’t have to make a decision next week and we cannot wait years.” He said he doesn’t “believe in containment, so I don’t see how easily it’s going to be solved.”

Nuclear talks with Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, made up of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, had been set to start April 13 in Istanbul. Then Iran demanded the talks be moved elsewhere because of Turkey’s support for rebels against Syria, an ally of Iran.

The talks would be the first since the breakup of a January 2011 meeting between Iran and the six-nation group. Since then, Iran has come under increasing pressure with mounting trade, financial and energy sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union to force the Persian Gulf country to abandon its uranium enrichment activity.

“The tightest possible sanctions and steps against Iran should be ratcheted in a way that will effectively corner them,” Barak said on CNN.

Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says its atomic program is aimed at producing electricity for its growing population. The U.S. and its allies say the Iranian government is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cheyenne Hopkins at Chopkins19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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