Barak on Iran: We Must Keep Finger on Trigger

Barak on Iran: We Must Keep Finger on Trigger
# 10 March 2010 01:22 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and said, "The State of Israel is the strongest country in the region, APA reports quoting Al Jazeera. However, we must recognize opportunities and not be confused by challenges."

"We must trust ourselves first and foremost with our feet on the ground and our eyes to the sky. One hand looks to make peace deals and the other hand with a finger close to the trigger, prepared to defend," Barak said Tuesday during a visit to the Kaduri Agricultural High School in the lower Galilee.

Turning his attention to American Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region, Barak said, "This is a mission of good will. The US is working diligently to strengthen Israel’s (military) superiority in the face of the Iranian threat and other challenges in the region. The visit is important, and it comes at a crucial time, but is our ultimate responsibility to keep Israel strong while continuing to try and achieve peace with our neighbors."

The Israeli defense minister said he hopes the indirect talks with the Palestinians, announced by US Mideast envoy George Mitchell on Monday, will lead to direct negotiations.

Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told an audience of foreign military officers and government officials in Herzliya on Monday that four to eight weeks remain to test the option of diplomatic engagement as means of stopping Iran’s nuclear program before sanctions will likely be imposed.

Ayalon said the time is not yet lost to stem Irans nuclear program, but added that it is of the essence.

Ayalon warned that Iran could try to sabotage sanctions by inflating international oil prices and raising energy costs for China, which is dependent on Iranian crude oil, and which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. At the same time, he added, alternative energy providers to China, like Saudi Arabia, were available.

The only way to stop Iran is through a unified diplomatic position, Ayalon said. Iran is a big and vulnerable country, that will use psychological warfare and [the tactic of] divide and conquer. Calling their bluff is the only way, he added.

Ayalon claimed that Iran is the source of instability in the Middle East. For Iran, the nuclear program is not a means but an end.