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Israeli Defense Minister Rejects U.S. Linkage Between ‘Outposts and Iran’

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has rejected the American link between Israel’s building of outposts on post-1967 territory and the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration has recently been insisting that the matter of building in post-1967 areas makes it difficult to achieve results on the Iranian matter. Barak, who heads the Labor party, and whose beliefs are considered to be much closer to the American thinking than are those of Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, told reporters on Tuesday that “there is no link between outposts and Iran.” He said that Iran threatened “the entire region” and that “the free world, moderate elements in the region and Israel see eye to eye on this threat.” The Obama administration’s policy of linking the issue of Iran to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being challenged by an administration Middle East envoy. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that in a book to be released next month, Ambassador Dennis Ross blasts the idea that all Middle Eastern conflicts will be resolved once the Israel-Palestinian track is solved. Ross calls it the “mother of all myths.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad disappointed the Obama administration on Monday when he rejected the Western proposal that Iran freeze its nuclear development program in return for the international community forgoing additional sanctions while a deal is being worked out. Iranian acceptance of the arrangement would have provided the administration with political wiggle-room to try out its controversial policy of engaging the Iranians. The Associated Press reported on Monday that Israel has accused Bolivia and Venezuela of supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program.