Ehud Barak says Iran seeks 'apocalyptic' policies


Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has restated fears of a nuclear-armed Iran after his top general clashed with the government's line by describing the Islamic republic as "very rational" and unlikely to build a bomb.

Addressing foreign diplomats on Israel's Independence Day late on Thursday, Mr Barak said Iranian leaders were not "rational in the Western sense of the word – connoting the quest for status quo and the peaceful resolution of problems". Believing otherwise "borders on blindness or irresponsibility," he said, adding that Iran sought and was "undeterred by the apocalyptic".

The speech reiterated existing international concerns, but the language was significant in being unusually strong for Mr Barak.

It was in stark contrast to comments from Israel's military chief, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, who last week said Iran was unlikely to "go the extra mile" of assembling a bomb, due to the global backlash it would cause and because Iran's leaders are "very rational people".