Israel will take any decisions on Iran’s nuclear activities as an “independent state”,Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said today,on the eve of a US-Israel summit in Washington.
“Clearly,the United States is the biggest world power and the biggest and most important country that is a friend of Israel,but we are an independent state,” Lieberman told Israeli public radio. “Ultimately,the state of Israel will take the decisions that are most appropriate based on its evaluation of the situation,” he said.
Lieberman’s comments came shortly before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to hold talks in Washington with US President Barack Obama tomorrow,a meeting expected to focus heavily on Iran’s nuclear activities.
Israel,Washington and much of the international community believes that Iran’s nuclear programme masks a weapons drive,a charge Tehran denies.
US intelligence is said to believe that Iran does not currently intend to produce nuclear weapons,though it may be seeking the capacity to do so,and Washington has emphasised the importance of deterrent sanctions and diplomacy.
But Israel is reportedly eager to move more quickly and decisively against Iran’s nuclear activities,using a military strike to prevent it from obtaining even the capacity to take a decision to produce nuclear weapons. “The Iranian file is well-known,” Lieberman said. “The direction taken by Iran is clear.”
But he added that any decisions should be taken “calmly,weighing the pros and cons. All this chatter doesn’t help anyone.”
Lieberman also warned that the international community’s failure to deal with the bloodshed in Syria,where a crackdown on anti-regime protesters has killed thousands,showed Israel could rely only on itself for protection.
“If the international community is incapable of stopping the massacres in Syria,what is the value of its promises to protect the security of Israel?”