Netanyahu: Iran strike will benefit region

Oct. 31, 2012 at 6:45 AM
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A military strike on Iran's nuclear sites would benefit the Arab world and not worsen regional tensions, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

"Five minutes after, contrary to what skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region," Netanyahu said in an interview with French magazine Paris Match published Tuesday on the eve of his trip to Paris.

"Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel," he said.

Netanyahu was to meet with French President Francoise Hollande while in Paris. The Iranian nuclear threat is one of the main issues the two were expected to discuss, Israel Radio reported. On Thursday, Netanyahu is to attend a memorial ceremony in Toulouse for four Jews killed last March in an attack on a school.

In London, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it is up to Israel to decide when the time to strike Iran is right. A crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran opted to use more than one-third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the building of a nuclear weapon, Barak said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph published Tuesday.

Had the move not been made, the situation would "probably" have peaked before the upcoming U.S. elections, he said. Iran's decision, he said, "allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by about eight to 10 months."

"When it comes to the very core of our security interests and, in a way, the future of Israel, we cannot delegate responsibility for making decisions even into the hands of our most trusted and trustworthy ally," Barak said. "It doesn't mean that we would be sorry if the Iranians come to the conclusion on their own. The opposite is true. But if no one acts, we will have to contemplate action."

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