Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak about Iran’s nuclear program.
Let me ask you about Israel's security. Ariel Sharon, when he was prime minister, said, “We are rapidly approaching the moment where Iran's nuclear program reaches a point of no return.” Shaul Mofaz, when he was a defense minister, said something similar. Of course, you very famously talked about Iran entering a zone of immunity, at which point, there was no turning back. Hasn't Israel cried wolf too often on Iran? It seems as though you have set up these red lines and Iran seems to move past them, but nothing happens.
We all use the same rhetoric. We all say that all options remain on the table and we are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear. We have to mean it. And now, with the new president, Rouhani, everyone mentions that he was the one responsible for slowing the moving toward nuclear military weapons in 2003, 2005.
We have to remember why he did it. He did it and the only time why he did it. And that was the essential precondition, where he felt that when the Americans already hit Afghanistan, they already hit Iraq, and they probably…might be the next target. That's the only thing that convinced them. When we say that we are determined to prevent Iran, we literally mean it. And we expect others who say to mean it.
real way to act, according to my judgment, is to... if you decide to give some time for negotiations, do it. But put it within a time line. And the Iranians should know, not the public, but the Iranians should know that they are expected to put an end to the nuclear military program or else. Behind closed doors, they have to know it…There is no need to embarrass them, but they should know what will follow if they will not take decisions quite urgently to stop it.
So does that mean that if things continue as they are – and the Iranians have been careful not to enrich above a certain level – at some point, Israel will strike, in your opinion?
I don't want to announce in front of cameras what we will do. But I repeat what I've said many times when I was in power and repeat it now. When we say that we are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear, we mean what we say.