Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barak: Deal will legitimize Iran's uranium enrichment

At presidential conference in Jerusalem, defense minister says Iranian uranium enrichment 'must be stooped altogether.

If finalized, the draft agreement between the world powers and Iran will legitimize the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment activities , Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday presented the draft deal, according to which Iran would send enriched uranium abroad for further processing, to Iran and three big powers for approval by Friday. It would cut Iran's quantity of low-enriched uranium (LEU) below the threshold that could yield a nuclear weapon if it were refined to high purity, while providing Iran with fuel for a nuclear medicine facility.

Speaking at the presidential conference "Facing Tomorrow" in Jerusalem, Barak called on the international community to give Iran a deadline for halting its nuclear program and impose additional sanctions against Tehran

"This deal will (take Iran's nuclear program) back a year, but it will also result in the legitimization of its uranium enrichment for civilian purposes. The uranium enrichment by Iran must be stopped altogether," said the defense minister.

"I repeat that the cessation of enrichment by Iran is needed, and not just the removal of the enriched material... and a short and limited time for discussion is needed."

"This agreement - if it is ever signed - will manage to turn back the accumulation of the enriched material in Iran by about a year. But this is a mixed blessing."

Barak also warned elements in the Middle East that are contributing to Hezbollah's rearmament. "The rockets in Lebanon are weapons that are meant to be used only as part of terror activity against civilians," he said.

Turning his attention to the Mideast peace process, the Labor party chairman said, "Peace is obtainable, and if we act right we will achieve it."