‘Israel made no promises not to attack Iran’
DHAKA: Israel has not made any commitment to Washington not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities during its negotiations with the West, Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak emphasised Tuesday morning.
In an interview from Colombia with Army Radio Barak said, ‘I do not believe the efforts of the international community to stop Iran`s nuclear program will bear fruit’.
‘The time spent in this process is very precious’, he continued.
In a separate interview with Israel Radio, the defence minister reiterated that Israel did not believe the talks would lead to the desired solution, but added that he would be pleased to learn that he is mistaken.
He said that the talks must lead to a clear outcome - a halt of Iran’s nuclear programme.
He also stated that postponing the talks by five weeks presents Iran with a prize, and the opportunity to continue to develop its nuclear program.
Addressing the videotape of Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the IDF officer filmed slamming his M16 into the face of a Danish activist, Barak said such behavior was ‘unacceptable’.
According to the defence minister, Eisner must be allowed to present his side, and the IDF was correct in suspending him as an initial response. Barak emphasised that Eisner’s actions do not match the IDF’s values, and require a full investigation.
Barak was due to leave Colombia for Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with his American counterpart Leon Panetta.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that he United States will maintain sanctions and other pressure on Iran as Tehran considers what it will bring to the table in the next round of talks over its nuclear program.
Iran’s foreign minister was quoted earlier Monday as saying his country was ready to resolve all nuclear issues in the next round of talks with world powers if the West starts lifting sanctions.
It was unclear whether Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi was suggesting that sanctions be lifted before Iran takes steps to reassure the West over its nuclear activities, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear that would not be possible.
‘I believe in action for action but I think in this case the burden of action falls on the Iranians to demonstrate their seriousness and we are going to keep the sanctions in place and the pressure on Iran as they consider ... what they’ll bring to the table in Baghdad and we’ll respond accordingly’, Clinton told reporters in Brasilia when asked about Salehi’s comments.
BDST: 1334 HRS, APR 17, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor