Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
January 18th, 2012
06:59 AM ET

Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"

By CNN's Kevin Flower

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that an Israeli decision on whether to strike Iran’s nuclear program was “very far off”.

Speaking to Israeli Army Radio, Barak would not offer a concrete estimate as to when he believes Iran may develop a nuclear weapon.

“I don’t know its a long way off. Some will say a few years some will say six months. It really doesn't matter.”

Pressed on whether the decision to use force might be weeks or months away Barak said “I wouldn't want to make any estimates. It’s not urgent.”

Barak’s comments come a day before the American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey is scheduled to visit Israel for talks on regional security matters and days after the two countries announced the postponement of a large-scale joint missile defense drill dubbed “Austere Challenge 12”

Dempsey's trip, his first to Israel since his becoming America’s top military leader, comes amid growing international tensions over Iran's nuclear program and its threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping. A Pentagon spokesman said Sunday the U.S.-Israel military exersizes would be pushed back until the second half of 2012 for "a variety of factors."

Pushing back on reports that the exercise was cancelled because of strategic or financial concerns the Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren released a statement Tuesday saying the decision was made jointly with the U.S. and “stemmed solely from technical issues “ calling the postponement “routine”.

In the interview Barak deflected questions on media speculation that Dempsey was visiting to ask the Israeli government not to strike unilaterally against Iran.

“The U.S. Understands that we have to listen to what they say and I think they listen to us..” Barak said “I don’t think there is much difference in how we see things”

Asked whether Israel had pledged to notify the U.S. Ahead of any any unilateral military action against Iran Barak responded “I don’t want to go into this. We haven’t made any decision on this. All of this is very far off”

Speaking to CNN in December Dempsey said there is no guarantee that Israel will give the United States warning if it decides to attack Iran, but that despite that America as sharing intelligence with Israel.

"We are trying to establish some confidence on the part of the Israelis that we recognize their concerns and are collaborating with them on addressing them," he said at the time

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Filed under: Diplomacy • Foreign Policy • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Military • Nuclear
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. ARC

    Israel knows Iran is making medicine. It's time the rest of the world comes to understand.

    February 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  2. Erik Lipscomb

    They are scared what are you more afraid of? a war ? or being Nuked?

    January 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  3. Jim Kaye

    The time to stop a country from obtaining Nuke's is before the country can complete them. That time is now, since they are nearly at the point of making one. One they have one, they will be given higher ground on the world order. This cannot be allowed with Iran. A hot-headed supreme ruler like Iran has now, will surely use any weapons he has when war breaks out.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  4. RagMcmuffin

    I just got off the phone with Iran, they asked if we would please have Israel begin. Their tea is getting cold and their camels are tired from carrying 1000 pound bags of monkey shit from their president.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:41 am | Reply
    • Jim Kaye

      Hey bud, get your facts straight. The 1000 lb. bag was the leader and a couple advisers, not monkey...

      January 20, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  5. jack

    If you look at the middle east in the past 10 yaers or lets say since the american invaded Iraq you will see that Iran is the biggest ally to west coz the iranian paved the way to the american through its spies or lets say the new iraq governmet and even in afganistan when the Iranian reveloutionary guards attack the taliban with American air coverage simply its only a game they will not attack Iran

    January 19, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
  6. Iranacockuptheirass

    He is lying, I can see it in his eyes

    January 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  7. tony miranda

    i thing us and west needs to open there eyes and see . iran they have a evel mentality and they wont stop until they can be able to hurt wester nation . we need put stop to this evel regime.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  8. mipolitic

    if israel thinks it can live with iran with nukes , than i suspect coal powered steam engines is the future depenable power for our go-carts.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  9. Hahahahahahaha

    But the attack will happen. Very far off? Is June "far off"? Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    January 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  10. cacique

    No one would expect the Israel's Secretary of Defense to state a date of attack vs. Iran, nor how much of a wait before any attack happens...but I guess, the topic is always open.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
  11. michaelfury

    "American security services overnight stopped a car bomb on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey.

    The van, packed with explosives, was stopped on an approach ramp to the bridge.

    Authorities suspect the terrorists intended to blow up the main crossing between New Jersey and New York, Army Radio reported."

    – Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2001

    January 18, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply

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