WASHINGTON -- Senator Joseph Lieberman encouraged US President Barack Obama on Monday to clearly define America’s red lines on Iran’s nuclear program.
“I hope he can find a way to really spell out with just a little more detail” what the US is willing to do to prevent Iran from become a nuclear power, Lieberman told The Jerusalem Post following an appearance at a B’nai B’rith conference.
He said he wanted Obama to “take it beyond that just all options are on the table, including military force” when it comes to US intentions on the subject.
The issue of whether the US is willing to spell out red lines that, if Iran crossed, would trigger military action, has been a matter of contention between Israel and the Obama administration in recent weeks.
Lieberman told the Post that “the more the president can define what it means to support a policy of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the more he will raise the confidence level of the government of Israel that it doesn’t have to be forced to take action unilaterally.”
He described a unilateral Israeli military strike as “not the best way” to deal with the Iranian threat. Instead, he said during the conference, if Iran leaves the world no choice between accepting an Iranian bomb or attacking Tehran’s nuclear facilities, the US should lead an international consortium in striking Iran.
“It ought to be led by the United States of America, which has the most significant military capabilities to carry this off and can do it in a way that will not have adverse political consequences for anybody, particularly Israel, in the Middle East,” he argued.
Lieberman said that America taking the lead in such united action next year, coming in the wake of Iranian intransigence, would be backed by US legislators. “There will be overwhelming bipartisan support for that action in the Congress of the United States,” he pledged.
Lieberman had just returned from a trip to the Middle East, where he visited many Arab countries and found “an unsettling prevalence of concern about whether America is still engaged forcefully in the Middle East.”
He said that those he spoke to expressed “a real desire that we show leadership because they still prefer us to any of the alternatives there, and particularly to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”