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Deal or no deal, Iran may be bombed – Israeli minister

Published time: May 23, 2012 09:47
Edited time: May 23, 2012 13:47
An Israeli fighter jet (Reuters/Jerry Lampen)

An Israeli fighter jet (Reuters/Jerry Lampen)

A military strike against Iranian facilities is not out of the question, even though Tehran has reached agreement on a probe with the UN’s nuclear watchdog, says Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

­The official was referring to a deal announced on Tuesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Barak called it an Iranian ploy to fend off international pressure.

The minister told Army Radio that "a nuclear Iran is intolerable and no options should be taken off the table," referring to the use of force.

He said the only way Israel could see Iran develop its civilian nuclear industry is if it shuts down all of its uranium enrichment sites and uses imported fuel.

The comments came as Iranian nuclear negotiators are meeting the P5+1 group in Baghdad on Wednesday. They are to discuss the conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which the West suspects of being a clandestine attempt to build an atomic weapon. Iran insists its pursuits are purely civilian.

"Dragging things out, in our eyes, is problematic, so conversations between the West and Iran must occur more frequently. North Korea also negotiated with the West but in the end tested nuclear weapons," Barak pointed out.

Last week US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said the Pentagon has a plan for a military strike on Iran, and may carry it out if ordered.

"It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force," he said.

Possible use of force against Iran has been discussed by Israel and its western allies for months. Israel insists on the right to strike when and if it sees fit, saying it will not ask for anyone’s consent. There is fear that if such an attack happens, Iran would retaliate at any forces it sees as enemies, which could result in a major regional war.

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