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September 17, 2009

Israel Defense Minister: Iran not an existential threat

Israel’s Defense Minister clearly believes Iran is a rational actor and that deterrence can work because “Israel is strong” – not to mention they have nuclear arsenal.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak was quoted Thursday as saying he does not view Iran as a threat to the existence of the Jewish state, a view that would seem to depart from Israeli statements of the recent past.

Israel’s mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth daily quoted Barak, the head of Israel’s centre-left Labour party, as saying “Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel.”
In response to a question about Tehran’s nuclear program which Israel has said it sees as destined to produce atomic weapons that could put its existence at risk, Barak said in an interview with the paper:
“I am not among those who believe Iran is an existential issue for Israel.”
Barak said “Israel is strong, I don’t see anyone who could pose an existential threat,” although he did add that he viewed Iran as a challenge to the whole world.

This is a reminder that world leaders often exaggerate threats in order to put pressure on others to give them what they want. For more on the realpolitik behind US-Israel-Iran-Arab relations, this book is a must read.

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