Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has once again hinted that Israel may have to go it alone when it comes to stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Speaking about the ongoing violence in Syria, Lieberman said on Monday that the international community could not be counted on when it comes to events in the Middle East.
Lieberman also elaborated on Israel’s view of the popular uprising in Syria, saying that what was happening there “should bother all of us, since this represents a failure by the international community to end the killing of civilians.”
“It [the Syrian regime] has not demonstrated its capacity to end the slaughtering of human beings; the carnage in Syria has been taking place for 18 months and not a finger has been lifted; this raises many troubling questions,” the foreign minister said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the administration’s view on Monday that a strike on Iran would be ill-advised at this point, despite Iran’s failure to comply with the demands of the international community.
“We regret that Iran has not yet made a strategic decision to address the international community’s serious concerns regarding its nuclear program and the ongoing P5+1 talks. However, we continue to believe that there is time and space for diplomacy,” Carney said.
“The opportunity remains for Iran to take advantage of this process by taking the necessary steps to come into compliance with its international obligations. In the meantime, even as we continue P5+1 talks, multilateral efforts to increase the pressure on Iran have not ceased at all.
“The United States continues to work with its partners around the world to increase the scale and scope on sanctions on Iran, as you know, making clear that such pressure will only grow until Iran changes course. Continued diplomatic efforts are not inconsistent with expanded pressure,” Carney continued.
“That is the essence of the two-track approach that we’ve taken, which is to step up, week by week, the pressure on Iran, the isolation on Iran, through sanctions and other means, in an effort to convince Iran that they need to make that strategic decision to abide by their international obligations and renounce their nuclear weapons ambitions. And we work with the Israelis as well as all of our partners in that effort.”
Carney’s comments were made just as U.S. officials denied the reports in recent days that should Israel attack Iran, the U.S. would have to join the fighting alongside the Jewish state.
The Russian Foreign Ministry lambasted the U.S. on Monday for the latter’s decision to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.
“Those in Washington should understand that our bilateral relations will seriously suffer if Russian companies working with Iranian partners in strict accordance with Russian law and U.N. Security Council resolutions are affected by the American restrictions,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
In Israel, several intellectuals, among them prominent writers, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday demanding that an attack on Iran be approved by the entire cabinet rather than the inner cabinet or other select forum.
The authors of the letter also said they would petition the High Court of Justice if they did not receive a response by Thursday. Reacting to the letter, MK Danny Danon (Likud) said the signatories represented “a minority from the radical left that undermines Israel’s strength; the talk over a possible attack is pointless and dangerous.”
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