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Remember how I complained that Obama and Romney reduced Iran to part of the election rhetoric and spin?

Not the least bit surprising, the same thing is happening in Israel. Defence minister Barak gave an interview to British “Daily Telegraph” (Israel says Iran has pulled back from the brink of nuclear weapon – for now / Oct 30, 2012) where he was dishing out analysis of Iran and their nuclear programme in a way the Israeli public has yet to hear. So it’s nice we can read it in foreign media…

Portrait of Ehud Barak

(Photo: Knesset — this is mainly as an excuse for posting link to Barak’s website on Knesset’s home page. Because it’s election seasons and it’s fun to read the MK’s profiles. Fun and geeky. And that’s what we are all about here at the Gates. Fun, geeky and brining about the revolution.)

Barak’s statements were by most media taken – as the headline in the Telegraph – to mean that the threat of a nuclear Iran isn’t imminent and it’s a matter of Tehran having decided against going nuclear (see here, here and here). In fact, Barak was a bit more nuanced. And saying the opposite:

To tell you the truth, out of long experience of the Middle East, I am extremely sceptical about the chances that it will lead the ayatollahs to sit together at any point in the foreseeable future and decide to give up their intention to go in the footsteps of Pakistan and North Korea and turn into a military nuclear power,” he said.

Well, Mr. Barak — you should know that when speaking on Iran, the media will pick up sound bites and not complexities. And also, when you speak abroad like this it looks like campaigning.

Barak’s party – Independence / Atzmaut – is by now not slated to cross the 2% threshold in the upcoming elections. So pulling out classified Iran intel and making a point of distancing yourself from Netanyahu (and Netanyahu’s Iran analysis) might be a good election strategy. I am just not so sure it’s great defense policy.

Good news — EU and US remain committed to tougher sanctions on Tehran. For the moment…

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