Agence France-Presse (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Israel is skeptical that a new round of sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear program will be effective, but there is “still time” for them to work, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday, July 30.

“They’re determined to get nuclear military capability. We see it,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe television program. “I don’t believe that sanctions will work.”

But he said that despite skepticism, Israel was willing to give the latest round of United Nations pressure on Tehran more time to have an effect.

“I think that the essence of it is we still believe it’s still time for sanctions, to see whether they’re working. But as I said, we have to realize we cannot wink in front of tough realities, however tough they might be.”

The UN Security Council slapped a fourth set of sanctions on Iran in June over Tehran’s refusal to halt its uranium enrichment work, the most sensitive part of the country’s controversial nuclear program, which many nations fear masks a drive for nuclear weapons.

Barak said Israel was pleased that sanctions were eventually agreed to after extensive negotiations in the Security Council, but he said the consensus text was “somewhat diluted to get wider foreign support.”

“We say all the way there should be extremely effective sanctions. If they don’t work, we recommend to our friends always not to remove any option from the table. We do the same for ourselves,” he added.

On Friday, Iran said it was ready to return to the table for talks with the United State, Russia, and France over an exchange of nuclear fuel, adding it was against stockpiling higher enriched uranium.

But Barak warned that Tehran has previously played for time, and cautioned that Iran was engaged in “a sophisticated dance.”

“They move. They stop. They open. They close. They go two steps to the right and then once again forward, backward, whatever. They’re determined to get nuclear military capability. We see it,” he said.


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