Ex-Israeli Defense Chief: Iran’s Nuclear Future Will Hinge On How World Reacts to North Korea

Moshe Ya’alon
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Iran will be closely observing the world’s reaction to North Korea’s latest nuclear test, which will dictate how the Islamic Republic moves forward with its own nuclear program, former Israeli defense minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said Sunday.

In response to North Korea’s claims that it had “perfected” the H-bomb test, Ya’alon tweeted, “The response of the international community led by the U.S. to the North Korean regime’s provocations will reflect on the Iranian regime’s nuclear policy in the near future.”

“Although the nuclear test is not our concern, the tension should worry us,” Ya’alon added.

On Sunday, North Korea launched its sixth nuclear test, producing tremors that were felt in cities in China’s northeast.

The U.S. responded by saying it was drafting sanctions cutting off trade with North Korea. President Donald Trump tweeted, “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

China, by far North Korea’s largest trading partner, bought $2.34 billion of Korea’s estimated $2.8 billion of exports in 2015 and sold $2.95 billion of goods.

“There’s a lot we can do to cut them off economically, much more than we’ve done,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

According to former IDF intelligence chief Maj. Amos Yadlin, Trump “should attack North Korea preemptively.”

He added, however, that such a move was contingent upon “excellent military intelligence” since a counter strike could be catastrophic.

“If after an [American] attack a missile will be launched against him [Trump] then the attack makes no sense,” Yadlin said.

Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), warned against comparing Iran with North Korea.

“Iran is 20 years behind North Korea,” he said. “The issue of Iranian nuclear capacities will be relevant towards the end date of the nuclear agreement which will enable it to gain nuclear capacities in a short span of time.”

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