August 10th, 2013
03:37 PM ET

Barak: We mean what we say on Iran

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.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iran

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Joseph McCarthy

    If either of these gutless wonders Angie Merkel or David Cameron would come forward to try to get both Iran and Israel to the negotiating table, maybe this situation can still be defused. Unfortunately, these people couldn't care less as long as they can fatten up their bank accounts and thus feather their nests!

    August 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • Thoughtful

      It's just as bad in Washington with NIAC doing their best to bribe members of congress to bow down before the Ayatollah. These guys are the worse type of lobbyists, the kind whose agenda is for a truly evil regime.

      August 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Reply
      • Sara

        The only lobby that's lobbying for the criminal regime in Israel is AIPAC. They have lobbied for various wars like Iraq, and now Iran.

        NIAC is not a war lobby or representative of Iran's government.

        NIAC is pro-Democracy, they only bring attention to negative effects of sanctions on Iranian population.

        Most Iranian-American are happy to have a voice in Washington D.C, that represents their pro-democracy views and looks out for Iranian rights.

        August 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Iran's nuclear ambition is very much the Supreme Leader's personal quest. The main problem the West – especially Israel and the US – faces is that the Supreme Leader has been around for decades. It's most unlikely that he has changed for the better all these years.
        The West has gone through turmoil and seen through elections the change of administrations. The 74 year old Supreme Leader believes he should have his way, because no elected leader has been around as long as he does. Perhaps real change would only occur, when he leaves.

        August 12, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • George

      Grow up! Iran has no intention of negotiating with stupid Israel. Iran does not even consider apartheid Israel to be a legitimate country. Just as it did not accept apartheid South Africa as legitimate. It would never negotiate with this criminal regime.

      August 12, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  2. sara

    Israel's illegal nuclear bombs has created an arms race for nuclear bombs in the Middle East! Israel must give up their nuclear bombs. They have a strong military they don't need a nuclear bombs.

    August 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • AMartin

      Sara - completely not true.

      Egypt has not sought a nuclear bomb.
      Saudi Arabia has not sought a nuclear bomb.
      Jordan has not sought a nuclear bomb.
      Kuwait has not sought a nuclear bomb.
      Etc, etc, etc.
      That's because they know that Israel is a responsible power.
      But the thought of Iran getting the Bomb is now making the Arab countries very nervous.
      No one should want the Iranians to get the bomb. Their leaders are crazy.

      August 11, 2013 at 12:37 am | Reply
      • Sam

        I do not know why do you thing that the Iranian leader are crazy? which they are not they are very smart and reasonable. Iran never invade any country they had been invaded by others for example the last war with Iraq which the whol world were with Sadam and fighting against Iran for 8 year Iran is golden country and they should be able to have the bomb only b/c they can protect their country.

        August 11, 2013 at 1:14 am |
      • Thoughtful

        Agreed. When a state that goes on and on about destroying its neighbors seeks the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, it should not be allowed to happen.

        August 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Thoughtful

        Replying to the thought that Iran hasn't invaded anyone...well they may not have officially but look at their forces in Lebanon backing Hezbollah, and their units in Syria propping up Assad. Their peaceful facade is a lie as they continue to destabilize the region and frighten their neighbors.

        August 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • Sara

        @ thoughtful,

        No Iran hasn't invaded any country. Hezbollah is an indigenous movement among the Shia population of Lebanon they are the biggest sect and were oppressed by Sunnis and Christians not long ago, and completely excluded from holding any governmental position.

        When Israel invaded southern Lebanon in 1980's, these Shias just became militarized and fought the occupation, until Israel withdrew from their land.Therefore, their movement against occupation and discriminatory practices in Lebanon has nothing to do with Iran.

        Also, Arab states such as Saudi Arabia , UAE ,Kuwait all funded and helped the Taliban in Afghanistan and various terrorist groups in Pakistan, Caucasus, etc.. They had thousands of Arab fighters move into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Caucasus. So, if anything It's the Arab state that have invaded other sovereign nations.

        Plus, all the instability in Middle East has nothing to do with Iran. It's called "Arab spring" which is primary funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia trying to gain influence in the Arab world.

        Iran is just helping it's ally Syria, Just like Saudi Arabia invaded and helped Bahrain to put down the protestors.

        August 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • Sara

        The Iranian leaders are very rational and work based on Iran's interest. Therefore, they would never invaded or use atomic weapons on their neighbors.

        The Arabs states are terrified of democracy more than anything else.

        August 11, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Nargis


      August 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
    • KEVIN

      sara, the US has complete control over Israel's nuclear weapons.

      August 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  3. mbuvi kasina

    this issue of nuclear is just cant talk of preventing other countries from acquering nuclear when ur busy increasing ur pile of nuclear war of double standards.

    August 11, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Thoughtful

      Well the two largest Nuclear powers the U.S. and Russia have been decreasing their stockpiles since the New START Treaty in this is just Iran getting into the arms race for kicks, and terrifying their Arab neighbors.

      August 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Reply
    • Sara

      nuclear Iran will definitely help stabilize the region and be a counter balance to Israel.

      August 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  4. Thoughtful

    It's important to think of the Arab states in talks like this. They desire a nuclear Iran as much as Israel does which is saying something about how trustworthy the Iranians are.

    August 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • Sara

      The so called "Arab states" like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, etc... should not be considered in this discussion since they are authoritarian states with no democracy freedom of religion or speech. Iran is much more democratic and free than these countries. These countries are just worried about democracy coming to their own land. We can see this while Arab spring was happening these countries did everything to prevent any form of democracy reaching their own land. They are terrified of Democracy not Iran. Iran is rational and plays according to it's own interest.

      August 11, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • KEVIN

      Thoughtful, Iran only wants them for self defense. Our concern is that they may get into the wrong hands (either externally or internally)

      August 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply
      • George

        Iran is far more responsible than the US. Besides, Iran has no WMDs of any kind. During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons that he had obtained with help from France and the US against Iran. But, Iran never retaliated in kind. Does that tell you something? Or, maybe you don't have a brain.

        August 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  5. Phelix Unger

    Geographically Iran is another mountainous country and they have a capable missle defence system. They built the reactors in the area that are naturally protected by the environment around them, before you could start arial attacks there would be a few days of bombardments just to fly in country, there would be a very fast response and bombs will be dropping the other way, lots of people killed.

    You know when I raised my sons, they knew no meant no the first time, there were no negotiations.

    Now on the other hand now I can see Ameica entertaining the idea of hit Iran and at the same time take out Assad and all his flight and missle launch locations, just slow things down.

    Maybe a good start time be March at the lastest, after all Obama said during the elections the Iran was at least a year away from having a delivery system.

    Were coming up on that year.

    That's all folks

    August 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  6. George

    I get sick every time I hear the sonorous and stupid voice of the war criminal Ehud Barak. He can shoot his mouth off as much as he wants with empty words. Nutanyahu has been claiming since 1992 that Iran will have nukes within a couple of years. We are still waiting. How long before people realize that these stupid little boys have called wolf too many times.

    As for "All options are on the table," it sound like a voice coming out of a moron's mouth. Iran is not scared of the criminal regime of Israel. As Ahmadinejad said, Israel is like mosquito to Iran. The speaker of the Iranian parliament said that Israel is like a dog that barks a lot but will never bite. So, Barak can shoot his mouth off as much as he wants. Nobody in Iran cares.

    While Fareed Zakaria's brought up the issue of calling wolf too many times, his interview was very weak in questioning the lies and insinuations of Barak. Nobody seems to question the statements of these war criminals and madmen.

    August 12, 2013 at 12:17 am | Reply
  7. Dudik, from Israel

    Ehud Barak wants to keep Israeli nuclear monopoly for several reasons of which one is, ONCE an Arabic or Islamic country has nuclear bomb production capability this will severely tie Israeli hands in what they can do. Then, Mossad will not be able to kill, meime, assassinate and murder as they have been doing for many years. But Brak is essentially powerless and USA won't attack Iran as Iran is too strong and too big to be provoked. Iran can field 20 million army and just that is a great concern to any western intelligence analysts. If Iran should have a bomb? Yes, thought I live in Yuda and Shomron I regard Iranian nuclear capability as a MUST and as a game changer – which will change great many games Israeli PMO and Mossad are currently playing. The games that largely kill and murder and often – kill civilians too.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  8. Alex

    Seems Iran and Israel,will show down in Syria in the near future,but the fire will be close to Israel,not Iran.Will Israel be smart enough to avoid it.

    August 14, 2013 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • KEVIN

      Alex, Iran and Israel will never "show down"

      August 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  9. KEVIN

    Is Fareed working for the State Department now? Can I work for him?

    August 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  10. Matt

    They have to dismantle it.

    August 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  11. worried

    I live in the US and I am terrified of a Iran and Israel/Iran war. How would this effect me an my family. I mean is there any plausibility that Russia would get involved. Would this wreck the global and/or US economy. I have terrible anxiety and fret about this everyday.

    August 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  12. yahya

    whats i know we have to stop Israel. because if we give them time and make them feel safe they want to capture whole middle east and this is what stupid Arabs doesn't understand. the reason they blame us for making nuclear bomb because they want to find a excuse to make a new war.......!!!!!!

    August 18, 2013 at 6:32 am | Reply

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