Why Israel Hasn’t Struck Iran—Yet

For those, like me, who scour media reports hoping to discern what’s really going on regarding Iran, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak’s interview this week to Britain’s The Telegraph is like striking gold.

Last summer, speculation about a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program was at fever pitch, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared genuinely at the end of his tether in public appearances and statements. A stream of top U.S. political and defense officials came to Israel in what seemed a last pitch to talk Jerusalem out of it.

As we now know, nothing happened. Netanyahu, addressing the UN General Assembly at the end of September, gave a totally new timeline, saying Iran’s nuclear development wouldn’t reach the “red line” until the spring or summer of 2013.

Seemingly that bore out those who claimed Netanyahu and Barak’s warnings all along had just been bluff. Now, Barak discloses that an attack was averted

when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the moment when it could have built a nuclear bomb…. Asked whether the critical moment would otherwise have arrived “about now,” Mr Barak replied simply: “Probably yes.”

Iran needs about 250 kg of medium-enriched uranium to make a bomb. By August this year, Iran was closing in with a total of 189 kg. It was at that point that

the country’s experts took 38 per cent of this stockpile and converted it into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor, thus putting off the moment when they would be able to make uranium of sufficient purity for a nuclear bomb.

This picture is generally consistent with a report three weeks ago by Haaretz defense analyst Amos Harel, who attributed his information to “senior defense officials”—possibly Barak himself.

Why, then, did Iran back off? Barak told The Telegraph:

“There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer. It could…be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] ‘oh we comply with our commitments.’”

Mr Barak added: “Maybe it’s a combination of all these three elements. I cannot tell you for sure.”

Note that, out of the three possibilities, Barak puts Iran’s fear of an attack first.

Presumably, Iran can read developments well enough to have known there was no real chance of an American attack at that point. But if—as seems likely—Iran feared an Israeli strike, it would undercut those American (like Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey) and Israeli (like former Mossad chief Meir Dagan) figures who have been loudly claiming Israel could at most slightly delay Iran’s nuclear program and poses no real military threat to it.

So where do things stand now?

Barak says—concurring with Netanyahu’s timeline—that Iran’s decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to 10 months.” As for the sanctions that other Western governments believe in so fervently:

“I am extremely sceptical about the chances that [they] 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.”

The sanctions issue is one on which the Israeli leadership has consistently disagreed with all other Western governments. It came up again on Thursday as Netanyahu met in Paris with French president François Hollande, who—like all the rest—opposes an Israeli strike.

Instead, Hollande said: “We must make sure that through pressure, sanctions and later through negotiations, Iran renounces its intention to have access to nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu, for his part, said:

“The sanctions are taking a bite out of Iran’s economy… unfortunately they have not stopped the Iranian program…. Given the history of the Jewish people, I would not sit by and write off a threat by those who say they are going to annihilate us.”

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  • Shalom Freedman

    There have been many contradictory reports including some which say that Iran has already enriched enough uranium to produce more than one bomb.
    So the claim of Barak seems to me now completely reassuring.

    • Shalom Freedman

      My post contains an error which reverses its meaning. I meant to say that Barak's claim seems to me not completely reassuring. I would also add that it is not reassuring because Iran also has clearly the capability to enrich more uranium should it decide to do so, and is unlikely to yield that capability. i.e.Any agreement with Iran will involve Iran suspending its use of a capability that it could make use of when it decides to. Iran is of course a serial violator of all its agreements, and cannot be trusted at all.

      • SAM000

        You are right,
        The only remaining solution is the REGIME CHANGE.
        State Dept. Speaker had notified that "the sanctions are not the punishment, we want Iran to be clear on it's Nuclear Military ambitions".
        Or, the add somewhere else "we want Iran to find it's important place".

        USA had declared openly that opposes the regime change.
        But, we have decided to over pass the USA's will.

  • aaron a kaplan

    David: A fourth reason might be as well that Israel knocked out the factory producing missiles for Iran in I believe it was Sudan. This made it very clear that Israel can attack anywhere from long range and had the intelligence and the will to do so.

    • David Hornik

      Yes, but Iran diverted part of its uranium to civilian use back in August, well before the apparent Israeli hit on the weapons that were in Sudan.

  • Schlomotion

    Maybe Israel backed off because America gave Netanyahu something he likes even more than Iranian heads on a silver platter: loads more of free American taxpayer money.

    • Choi

      3 things are certain:
      The sun rises in the east,sets in the west and schlo is a jew-hating POS & professional TROLL

    • Ghostwriter

      More disgusting Jew hatred from Schlomotion. Don't you ever get tired of hating Jews?

    • Mary Sue

      Stormfront called. They want their rhetoric back.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Netanyahu something he likes even more than Iranian heads on a silver platter: loads more of free American taxpayer money."

      Your evidence? The Elders of Zion?'

    • Engardian

      You mean financial aid that Israel pays back? Too bad all that "taxpayer money" that goes to Israel is a piss in the pot compared to the trillions we dump on the Muslims and Arabs. When did we get stuck in this cycle of rackets from the Arab Lobby?

  • Brian

    The end game will remain the same, kill every jew in Isreal. Lets bomb the site and move on to the Gaza Strip and do the same.


    • Lady_Dr.

      Exactly right!

  • adam

    Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Understand? These jews have been saying Iran is working on nuclear weapons for 20 years. They'll be saying it for another 20 years and they will still be just weeks away from a nuclear weapon. It's a joke!

    The bandit state of israel doesn't have the balls to attack Iran just like it didn't have the balls to attack Iraq. They needed their little slave state america to do their bidding for them.

    • steve

      adam, your socialist stupidity defies belief.

      • adam

        facts are facts

        • http://www.facebook.com/andre.jansen.587 Andre Jansen

          So true Adam.
          Facts are indeed facts; pity you don't understand them then

          • adam

            The fact is Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. That is in line with our NIEs of the last 6 years.

          • Mary Sue

            The IAEA doesn't even believe that, Adam.

        • Mary Sue

          great, where did you get yours? From the back of a cracker jack box?

        • Mary Sue

          except when they're not.

    • jacob

      ADAM :

      Your hate for Israel surely makes you lie your head off….
      So who bombed to hell SADDAM HUSSEIN's OSIRAK nuclear reactor ???
      Who destroyed the ogther reactor being built in FRANCE ????
      Who bombed to hel ofl the one the North Koreans were building for the Syrian hyena ????
      Who bombed to hell SUDAN'sarms and munitions factory ????
      I guess this little "bandit" state ofI israel has more balls than all of you Judeophobes put together

      • adam

        I have no reason to lie unlike propagandists like you. If I was jewish I would be the loudest voice saying Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and is not working on it. I would be condemning israel day after day if I was a jew. Because as you know, holocaust 2.0 is just around the corner. All jews are brought believing that the gentiles are not to be trusted and one day they will turn on the jews.

        • Mary Sue

          adam what pray tell makes you PRO enough or privy to information that gives you absolute certainty? Did you go in Iran's facilities and see for yourself? Do you know anyone who has? No?

          Then kindly stop arguing the negative with such certainty, it's annoying and fallacious. You are entitled to your own opinion. You are NOT entitled to your own facts.

          • adam

            The National Intelligence Estimate of the last three years, the IAEA, and the NPT. And the fatwa against all nuclear weapons made by the ayatollah.

            What pray tell makes you think Iran is working on nukes? You have no real evidence.

          • Mary Sue

            You have no evidence that they aren't.

            You think a fatwa against nukes means ANYTHING, given that Pakistan, a Muslim Country, already has nukes? Do you think for one second that Pakistan would get rid of their nukes once an Ayatollah said they were bad?

            I would not believe anything that came out of the UN or the current US administration of the last 3 years. The NIE said that Iran halted a program of nukes in 2003, but how do we know that hasn't started up again?

            I'm sorry but the IAEA isn't exactly backing you up here:

            38. Previous reports by the Director General have identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme and actions required of Iran to resolve these.39 Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.

            39. The Annex to the Director General’s November 2011 report (GOV/2011/65) provided a detailed analysis of the information available to the Agency, indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. This information, which comes from a wide variety of independent sources, including from a number of Member States, from the Agency’s own efforts and from information provided by Iran itself, is assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible. The information indicates that, prior to the end of 2003 the activities took place under a structured programme; that some continued after 2003; and that some may still be ongoing. SinceNovember 2011, the Agency has obtained more information which further corroborates the analysis contained in the aforementioned Annex.

            Non-Proliferation Treaty? Seriously? Really? REALLY? Oh god don't make me laugh.

  • Matt

    There is not victory to be found in this issue, how much enriched Uranium did Saddam or Bashar produce.?

    I am not like the Hamas who betray their friends, my friends are my friends and mine alone to choose. Now in relation to Iraq, Iran, and Israel, that is fine. Make no mistake, if Iran had developed the bomb while the US was bogged down, they would have bled the US dry and never let them leave. The Israeli condom use and throw away. All good stories start in childhood and the Ayatollah knows mine, I choose my own friends, be a Jew or a Muslim. A Syrian and a Jew.

    Once the US had saved themselves they threw Israel to the wolves, not all of the US, there are some good people in America. It is known full well in the ranks, and the left and US like to use it Shin Bet, Mossad, IDF against a strike, but also knowing the US will not deal with the matter.

    Have you ever asked Why?

    Dempsey threatens me. The tool to public speaking is not to think of everyone naked, but in primary school uniforms. Iran is going to build the bomb, just like the S-300 was stopped,the S-400 will be sent. Who are you to threaten me, I answered to the President, people like you don't count, because things like Iraq. I was a sleeper I make contact when you have stuffed up an put the empire at risk.

    Dempsey you heard them pack up your bases and disbanded the CIA, preconditions.

    • Matt

      I will tell you right now Dempsey how the talks play out,a deal is done, sanction are lifted gradually, the RU and PRC do not support new sanctions UNSC and Iran build the bomb. And what does the primary school boy in uniform do?.

      • Matt

        The other thing when you sit down at the table with Tehran Dempsey, it is not 2013, it is 2005.

        • Matt

          Karzai was untrustworthy and staff, narcotics, but it was legal, he is an ally, tactics and strategies, Wali had go.The point was proven in Marja in relation to ARM and China. ARM have no beef with the Chinese. An are independent of the government in exile. I use to work in 40 degree heat, the only person that would bring me a drink was a Chinese lady.

          • Matt

            I have non aspirations, by the time it comes I will be deceased, I just want my people to be free.

          • TCMSOLS

            It is over, no wonder the CIA are taking heavy losses, I have Burns, McManus, Smith threatening me and using torture. People kill FSB, that would be too scared to stand in the same room of the KGB. It is time for a name change.

          • Matt

            Now for a few dollars or a bag of meth any GRU, CIA, MI6, ASIS can be picked up off the street, no worries. I miss the cold war.

    • patriothere

      I have no reason to lie unlike propagandists like you. If I was jewish I would be the loudest voice saying Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and is not working on it. I would be condemning israel day after day if I was a jew. Because as you know, holocaust 2.0 is just around the corner. All jews are brought believing that the gentiles are not to be trusted and one day they will turn on the jews.

      • Mary Sue

        and the Palestinians teach their children it is their duty from Allah to drive the Jews into the sea, so I don't blame them…

  • Matt

    When it gets tough, I was Steven Williams, if I did not put myself in front they SAPOL would never have known. I will front them and pay the price. Due to my task I left school after the the collapse of the USSR, even though it is worthless, I thank Don Rumsfeld for letting me finish my exams.

  • Matt

    I don't have to worry that Steve was knocked, because the Secretary of Defense and associated security is in town. I just had to concentrate on passing my exams. They mean nothing practically, it means as I was told year after year by teachers I am no stupid. Now lets win some wars.

  • Matt

    What for ups Downer and AWB, like coffee from Smith with Rice on Fiji.


      I learned about standing up, when Sue Fritz son who use to conduct readings individual, told me to kiss his feet, or he would have me in bad standing, tell the truth no listens. I will take bad standing.

  • Matt

    If he wants to be a man or his kin come to Tully with the Star Gruppen/SAS, I will cut them off.


    The truth I can go back further, kindergarten, I cut my foot, I told my mates to be quite, but the yafter announced, and the teacher it is an old wound, clear wound. That is the truth. The truth.

  • mohsen samii

    The Israelis know full well that an attack on Iran would result in their dismiss. They also know full well that Iran is NOT an Arab country or a Semitic people but are from the Persian Empire and a race apart who have been under economic and political from the Western countries since the fall of the Shah of Iran and will defend themselves to the bitter end. Furthermore if we look back to 2006 when a small group of Hezbollah fighters took care of the Israeli Army in a 33 day war which was stopped through United Nations resolutions in order that the Israelis could save face. furthermore the record of the United States´s onslaught on Iraq and their dubious so called victory not to mention their disastrous military campaign in Afghanistan which has been going on for the past 10 years or so does not leave any doubt that the United States and its Western and Israeli allies are not in a position to wage war on Iran. Again lets look at the situation in Syria where mercenary forces are deployed and financed by the United States together with their allies such as NATO, France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and other Arab States have not resulted as to their liking and the outcome will be yet another defeat. No the Israelis did not pull back at the last minute as they claim. They never really intended to attack Iran and their BLUFF has been called.

    • Mary Sue

      You remind me of a blind man with a particularly twisted sense of justice. Tousen Kaname. Who's your Aizen?

    • Bob the Aussie

      Mohsen; Two things you must master before making another rant:
      1. Learn to express yourself in a proper English.
      2. Learn to THINK..

      • SAM000

        For what reason Mohsen should learn English and think?
        Mohsen is paid by the number of the words he writes,
        We the Iranians, we know very well how this kind of regime thugs function, we call them HEZBOLLAHI who runs with SANDIS.

        SANDIS is a kind of drink that the regime distributes it for his employed thugs during the Friday praying.
        Well, Friday praying is a kind of meeting of the most disgusting paid mercenaries that are called BASIJI, they repeat like the monkeys the gestures of a prehistoric Mullahs and they chant "death to all the enemies" and the enemies are as you can imagine "ISRAEL, USA, the west, the bad veiled girls and so".
        Another usage of Mohsen type THUGS is to use them to chant and shout during the STREET HANGINGS, you know, the Mullahs regime need to make daily street hangings of the political prisoners to stay daily on power, last week 24 were hanged, Iran has the highest record of executions in the world, China comes just after Iran.

        This the power of IRI that Mohsen claims about,
        Mohsen, here at this FORUM demonstrates his best civilized face, NORMALLY, Mohsen and his alike is working in the infamous EWIN prison, where they rape the kids the night before their executions.

        You can not invite Mohsen to learn and think, The NAZI hangman who were working in the extermination camps is fed daily to repeat the same gestures.

    • Glennd1

      Do you folks here see what our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us? These "calculated" wars fail every time – even if we try to create a plausible story about victory, like some dopey people try to peddle on Iraq. But our actions have consequences and when we demonstrate weakness and a lack of resolve as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, our enemies noticed. Listen to this guy. Iran's GDP is half of our defense budget – and he's claiming the U.S. couldn't defeat Iran. It appears our enemies think we were defeated in the recent wars.

      Take Afghanistan. Every military mind worth a hoot advised that we would need to put a force of about 500,000 on the ground to take Afghanistan from the Taliban, and to hold it. Even the faux surge by Obama recognized this fundamental truth – a simple calculation of sqare miles, population density and force effectiveness – but claimed we would get their with Afghan force. Bush did too. To round it out, we'd also need to put some armored units on the ground, as well as a large air presence. To win would necessarily have involved large civilan casualties, just like every big war ever fought to victory has. But we don't have the stomach for it. It's not a lack of capabilities – we could have fielded the necessary forces at the snap of a finger, we have them. No, it was will that was not present.

      And that's what I'm afraid of on Iran. What did you hawks learn from Iraq? You have to govern afterwards. In order to do so in Iran, you'd need to take out the Mullahs, the IRG, the Hezbollah, Basiji and all military govt. So much of the system is infected with Shia madmen that you have to simply eliminate those institutions. We'd probably kill, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of Iranian civilians along the way. There is no low cost way to do it. We can do it with minimal casualties to our selves, but Iran is a large country with 75 million people? It's not going to fall over easily, we will have to kill millions – if you add up all the killing that will need to happen.

      Me? I'm not up for it. And the U.S. isn't up for it. We will do another half baked maneuver of some sort which will only further enrage the populace, and eventually have to walk away and leave the land to someone else who doesn't represent our interests. Or what? Are we going to occupy Iran forever?

      To the idiot above: The U.S. could literally wipe out your govt, all military, IRG, Hezbollah, Clerics in less than three weeks. With very few casualties to us. There is no dispute about whether we could decimate your country on a whim, it's axiomatic. Perhaps you aren't familiar with the sound of an F-18 on afterburner? It's like an earthquake, and that's just the sound of its engines if it flies by low enough. We won't even have to go super hi-tech with your toy military. Just take, for example, the Iranian Navy's brilliant plan to use small boats with missiles or machine guns mounted in swarms to attack our larger ships. They don't realize that it's virtually certain that our military has used sophisticated computer simulation models and live exercises to game out that technique. We will, of course, annihilate any and every boat instantly that comes within range of one of our naval warships, it's kind of a joke. I mean, you guys can talk yourselves into any kind of BS, can't you? . Your country has no real military threat to the U.S. – it's a joke. Like I said at the beginning, your countries entire GDP is half our spending on national security. This is how empires fail – idiots end up running them.

      • SAM000

        glennd; I followed the events in Iraq from the beginning till now, USA is powerful as you mentioned, I have seen myself the tremendous Military power of USA, Your army was able to pacify and stabilize SADR CITY in Baghdad in less than one month, a US Army Captain did it with his soldiers and 12 Tanks, in one week all the Islamic Armed thugs searching a mouse hole to hidden themselves, the people were so happy, for the first time the people could walk in the streets freely, the business started, one week before, you had the bombs which exploded every day killing and wounding the hundreds of civilians.
        That brave Captain and his Colonel were removed and one month later the Thugs and rats came back to the city.
        State Dept. Installed and protected a proxy government in IRAQ, at 2009 the secular parties were the winners of the election in IRAQ, but USA supported and maintained the Islamic proxy of Iran who were defeated in the ELECTION.
        the current Iraqi Government are the members of the Mullahs Qods forces, they have all the operational terrorism files in your CIA and State Dept., but, they are governing Iraq for Iran and of course against the USA's interests.
        Yes dear glennd, USA is very powerful, but, USA uses his power against the people and against his own interest.
        Your Military staffs are the wonderful, skilful, educated, and brave people, they protect and defend the civilians, but, they are removed immediately from their functions and replaced with the local mafia and Islamist THUGS by your state dept.
        Do you remember GENERAL GARDINER?, the first Military Governor of Iraq?
        He did an excellent job with his crews, they removed him after 3 weeks, he was replaced by PAUL BREMER, a non knowledged DIPLOMAT who installed the most dangerous Islamic thugs on the Military and Security key positions.

        • Glennd1

          That is the typically anti-American line, SAM. I have news for you, we are no less smart then other folks, it's just the actual reasons we've gone to war for haven't been compelling enough to justify the use of massive force to quickly achieve our objectives. Me, I think it's weakness. Just for example imagine if we had put the correct force levels into Afghanistan and pursued the complete annihilation of the Taliban. They earned it by providing safe haven to Al Qaeda. Forget the failures of the Soviets, our doctrine and capabilities are at a much higher level than anything they ever dreamed of.

          Within 6 months we would have killed most of them. We would have established effective control over the majority of high population areas. Insurgents wouldn't be able to act as government and social agency and use terror over the people. The death and destruction would necessarily be horrific, but if we did it just once, we could cite it as the proof point of our resolve. Any country that sponsors attacks against us ("terrorist" attack or not) will have it's government and military destroyed. But no, we never actually did that. Instead the example we set it allowing them to run to Pakistan and control significant areas of the country. ROE that is absurd. Lawyers making combat decisions. And you wonder why meatheads like the guy above think that the U.S. can't beat them?

          The hawks here think that we lacked the courage, but they are wrong. We're not fighting wars that the American people are willing to go to "total war" over. These are seen as tactical actions that are somehow part of a larger political strategy, which is always just about to pay off. The real issues is our interventionism around the globe.

  • kim Segar

    The G-d of Israel plainly tells us all nations will go against Israel and their weapons will be used on the enemies of Israel and that Israel will STAND FOREVER !! Next Isaiah 17..Damascus will be rubble. then comes Psalms 83 where the nations around Israel will attack and they will loose. then the so called new peace agreement .and finally Russia will bring all nations against Israel and that is when Messiah will ROAR thru Zion and destroy them all. Goodness Scripture is more up to date than media or anything we can think up. not to mention we have a muslim in our WH who has been making deals with Russia,China and Iran. anything we dont give to Iran, we send like the others thru Libea and others. It is America who is going against G-d and His Chosen People who will be sorry as Russia sends bombs on our land. So many liars but G-d is in control and His Word is TRUTH

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Since when is it that Iran could not import nuclear material from say Pakistan or North Korea?
    Now you see it now you don't, who's eyes are sure enough to insure safety for the
    millions of Israeli's who the Islamists want dead. The efforts of Islamist Nations is to
    destroy Israel and use force or the UN to rearrange lands so that no one will recognize
    the Jewish State. Obama in the White House is a sure danger to Israel and unless Romney
    takes over the end is on the way and violence will out the survivor and my money is
    on Israel. No one anywhere in the World is safe today and unless and until real moral
    character is reinstilled into mankind it may just be that I should put my money on
    my hamster and wave goodbye old world, time for a long nap……………….William

    • Mary Sue

      Pakistan most likely could, though they'd have to be very careful about it.