Barak: Iran is feeling the pressure
Defense minister says Tehran not oblivious to pressures exerted by the West despite US' seemingly 'softer' stance
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak briefed the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on regional developments Monday.
Barak told the committee that Iran was "feeling the pressure" exerted by the West, and stressed that while the United States' hegemony in the region may be fraying, its strategic cooperation with Israel is close.
"We see the situation in Iran almost identically," he said, but remained mum as to the possibility of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Washington's dominance in the region in faltering because the US administration has to contend with a "full internal agenda," Barak explained. Nevertheless, the United States remains the "only true superpower," he added.
Barak further added that Tehran was "feeling the effects of the Arab Spring. It's concerned with the events in Syria and the possibility of losing its strategic link with Damascus; as well as with the possibility of protests in Iran getting out of hand."
Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons despite the hurdles posed by the West, the defense minister said. "The chances of imposing truly crippling sanctions are slim, but on the other hand Iran's Central Bank and its petroleum industry are under a lot of pressure."
Barak reiterated that all signs are indicating to the fact that "Assad's regime in Syria in on its last legs… it's hard to say when it will meet its end, but there's no doubt that it's nearing the end of its days."
Syria, he noted, has yet to come up with an alternative to the current regime: "The international community understands that, which is why – at this point – it's refraining from intervening in Syria."
The Arab world's aversion of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutality also serves a pressure factor on Damascus and, as are the dwindling ranks of the Syrian Army and the dire financial and political straits the country has been gripped by since March 2011.
"The regime's fall will be a massive blow to the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis," he concluded.