Barak: Assad´s Fall Would Weaken Iranian Influence (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 04/20/12)
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday that Syrian president
Bashar Assad has lost his legitimacy and that his fall would be “very
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Barak said an exit by
Assad would weaken Iranian influence in the region. He added that
anti-Israel Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Gaza would suffer if Assad
“The toppling of Assad will be ... a major blow to Iran,” Barak was
quoted in an Associated Press report as having said during the
interview. “It will be very positive event.”
He added that the world is not doing enough to force Assad out.
Amanpour also asked Barak about the Iranian nuclear threat, noting
that the U.S. believes the regime in the Islamic Republic has not yet
decided to develop a nuclear weapon. Barak rejected that claim.
“It’s true that Khamenei probably has not given an order to start
building a [nuclear] weapon or device, but why is he doing this? Just
because he understands that if he starts to actually build a weapon,
he might find himself facing an American or an Israeli response in a
way that might damage him,” said Barak.
“That’s the only reason why he did not give the order, but they are
clearly headed towards this objective,” he added.
Earlier this week, Barak said that Israel has not given the U.S. a
commitment to hold off from striking Iran while the U.S. and other
countries are holding talks with the Persian theocracy.
Barak said during a radio interview that he does not believe the
attempts to stop Iran´s nuclear program through negotiation will
“We are not part of the negotiations,” he said, “but we think the
Americans have a goal of stopping Iran – yet we believe that the
chances are not high that the sort of steps that are being taken will
cause Iran to fold its nuclear program.”
In a later meeting with Colombia´s President Juan Manuel Santos,
Barak called for tougher sanctions on Iran.
“It is time for serious sanctions against Iran,” Barak told
Santos. “Iran is a threat not only to Israel but a threat to the
entire world order. The goal should be to stop Iran from its efforts
to obtain nuclear weapons.”
The CNN interview took place on the same day Barak and U.S. Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta met at the Pentagon. The meeting, which lasted
over an hour, was also attended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, Martin Dempsey.
The meeting dealt with all the regional issues affecting the Middle
East, including Syria, Iran, as well as with the American aid to the
Iron Dome anti-missile system. After the meeting, Barak said, “The
U.S. and Israel continue to closely monitor the developments in the
region and maintain a continuous dialogue.”
Following their meeting, Barak and Panetta attended a ceremony at the
Pentagon in honor of Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 04/20/12)
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