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Israel's Barak stresses military option over Iran during Rice meet

Obama: US must 'tighten screws' on Iran
White House hopeful Barack Obama said Monday sanctions and diplomacy must be made to bite against Iran so that Israel does not feel its "back is against the wall" and stages an attack. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a "game-changer for the region," allowing the Islamic republic to meddle through extremist proxies, intervene in Iraq and threaten oil supplies, the Democrat told about 250 voters at a meeting here. "My job as president is to make sure we are tightening the screws on Iran diplomatically... to get sanctions in place so that Iran starts making a different calculation," the Illinois senator said. "And we've got to do that before Israel feels like its back is against the wall."
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 25, 2008
Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that it will never accept Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability, according to a statement issued after a dinner meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"Mr. Barak has once again underlined the fact that Israel cannot accept that Iran acquires nuclear (capability). Israel refuses to rule out any options" in its handling of the issue, the defence ministry statement said, an allusion to a previously-stated threat to use force.

"The United States must continue to impose effective economic sanctions on Tehran with the goal of preventing Iran from building nuclear arms," Barak told Rice during their meeting, according to the release.

Rice arrived in Tel-Aviv on Monday in a bid to kickstart stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear armed state, considers Iran its main strategic threat because of its nuclear programme, which Israel and its staunch US ally suspect is aimed at developing weapons.

Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting its nuclear drive is aimed solely at providing electricity for its growing population when its fossils fuels run out.

The United States has never ruled out military action against Iran over its defiance of international demands for it to freeze uranium enrichment, but so far is pursuing the diplomatic route.

"The position of the United States is well known. They do not want, for the time being, any (military) action against Iran," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told army radio on August 13.

"Our position is that no option is to be taken off the table but in the meantime we have to make diplomatic progress," he said.

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Iran to continue 'positive' nuclear talks with IAEA
Tehran (AFP) Aug 20, 2008
Iran said on Wednesday that talks on its controversial nuclear drive with top UN atomic watchdog official Olli Heinonen were "positive" and would continue.

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