Lieberman: Israel Will Not Attack Iran, U.S. Responsible for Iran
Israel will not attack Iran even if the international sanctions against Tehran fail to convince President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give up his country’s nuclear program, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung. In an interview published this weekend, Lieberman was asked whether Israel planned to strike Iran as a last resort.
“We are not talking about a military attack. Israel cannot resolve militarily the entire world’s problem. I propose that the United States, as the largest power in the world, take responsibility for resolving the Iranian question,” Lieberman told the paper.
“The best way to stop Iran’s nuclear program is through severe sanctions, very severe sanctions,” he said. “The resolutions of the UN Security Council are insufficient. Iran must be presented with harsher and more effective sanctions. It worked against Libya. We must isolate Iran; only this way will results be possible.”
Lieberman reiterated his position that Iran is an international problem. >>>
Israel and the West accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of pursuing a military nuclear program — an allegation that has been rejected by Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog.
Lieberman, however, went on to say, “I propose that the United States, as the largest power in the world, take responsibility for resolving the Iranian question.”
The apparent softening of tone is believed to be related to the Israeli officials’ fear of a pending clash of stance with the new US administration which intends to engage Iran “diplomatically” on the matter.
Following a period of Israel intense war rhetoric against Iran Washington reportedly started weighing possible sanctions on Tel Aviv, should it go ahead with the attack.
Lieberman insisted that “the best way to stop Iran’s nuclear program is through severe sanctions, very severe sanctions…. The resolutions of the UN Security Council are insufficient. Iran must be presented with harsher and more effective sanctions. It worked against Libya. We must isolate Iran; only this way will results be possible.”
This is while many — including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretary-General Mohamed ElBaradei — believe that sanction and isolation is not the key to the issue, saying such an approach could only impede the process.
Tehran asks Washington to clarify its real stance towards Iran after the US President threatened to keep ‘all options on the table’ over Iran.
In a meeting with the families of the martyrs of the imposed Iran-Iraq war in Tehran on Saturday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the US “to spell out all the options on the table so that the world can understand your culture and literature.”
Ahmadinejad’s remarks come in response to the Tuesday statement of the US President Barack Obama that he said he wanted direct diplomacy with Iran but without taking other options off the table.
Obama expressed a willingness to engage directly in talks with Iran during his election campaign, yet now seemingly has begun a double-edged policy with Iran, continuing to accuse Iran of pursuing a nuclear program with a military goal.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also recently threatened Iran with the imposition of fresh sanctions against the country if dialogue fails.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly expressed its opposition against setting up conditions for the country.
The Iranian chief executive has basically welcomed Obama’s initiative, but has called for “fundamental and fair” changes in US policies in the region.
“You have misbehaved for a hundred years, you have damaged the world. Now if you act properly and win the trust of the world, the world will help you,” Ahmadinejad said.
“These conditions were also set by former US president George W. Bush and he saw the result,” said the Iranian President.
The United States continues to pressure Iran into suspending its nuclear research program, which the US insists is geared toward a military application. Iran, however, argues that its nuclear program is peaceful and solely for the generation of power.
Washington severed ties with Tehran following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution which toppled Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a US-allied monarch brought back to power after a US coup against the first Iranian democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, who nationalized the country’s oil industry.
In a March 2000 address, former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright acknowledged the pivotal role of the coup in the troubled relations between the two countries and came closer to apologizing to Iran than any other US official.
“The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons,” she said. “But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran’s political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”
In a rare interview with American television, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for his “support of the massacre of Gazans” during Israel’s offensive on the Hamas-ruled coastal territory earlier this year.
“The gentleman’s [Obama] support of the massacre of Gazans in support for the criminals who were responsible for that atrocity was a major mistake on the part of the gentleman,” Ahmadinejad told ABC reporter George Stephanopoulous during an interview aired Sunday on ‘This Week’.
“I think that if Mr. Obama wants to help with the Palestinian issue, he has to move in accordance with justice, fair play and also, again, I am calling for the right for the Palestinians to determine their own fate,” said the Iranian leader. >>>
The European Union “underestimates the Iranian threat,” according to Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Union.
At the conclusion of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Topolanek was strongly critical of European officials who are calling for a freeze on the upgrading of ties between the EU and Israel.
In an interview with Haaretz, the outgoing Czech prime minister said that the “peace process should not be linked to the relations between the EU and Israel.” At the same time, Topolanek proposed that Israel should end the razing of homes in East Jerusalem as a gesture of good will to the Palestinians.
Toplanek is considered one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe. He is also is the first prime minister to have visited Israel during Benjamin Netanyahu assume the post of premier last month.
In spite of his criticism of Israel on issues like settlements in the West Bank, on most other issues Topolanek backs Israel’s policies. >>>
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