Iran has reportedly put its nuclear bomb ambitions on hold, according to Israel’s defense minister on Tuesday, who still warned that his country may have to decide if they will launch a military attack against Iran.
Tehran has long-denied that any of its nuclear ambitions involve weapons, but governments in Europe and the United States have become increasingly suspicious of its intentions, reports Reuters.
So far diplomacy and huge economic sanctions have failed to end the stalemate between the countries, raising fears that Israel may follow through on its threat of military action against its arch-enemy.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, saying that an immediate crisis has been avoided, because Iran has chosen to use more than one-third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes. He added that the decision by Iran “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months.” Barak added:
“There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer. “
The Associated Free Press notes that Israel has long-spoken of possible military action against Iran, with several politicians in the country proposing a preemptive military strike against the Middle Eastern nation, before Tehran can acquire a nuclear weapon.
Barack believes that Iran has made 417 pounds (189 kilograms) of 20 percent pure uranium, which is a key step in developing weapons-grade material, but said that 38 percent of this material has been converted into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor. Barak added:
“It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) ‘oh we comply with our commitments’.
Despite the effect that the most recent economic sanctions have had on Iran, Barak doubts that these sanctions, or any kind of diplomacy, will resolve the crisis. He predicts that Israel will have to face a decision on whether they will launch preemptive strikes at Iran in 2013.
Barak adds that Israel has the right to act alone in a strike against Israel, and believes that a preemptive strike would be less risky than waiting for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.