Lieberman and Clinton.
(photo credit: Shahar Azran)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday said that he and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were in agreement on most of the issues raised in their meeting Tuesday in Washington. Most importantly, he said, "there is understanding and agreement that Iran must be prevented from getting a nuclear weapon."
Israel and the world should monitor the effects of the sanctions already put in place, and thank the United States for its recent efforts to levy new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, the foreign minister told Israel Radio. Iran, he said, is looking for ways to transfer money despite the sanctions and "we need to limit their ability to operate in the banking system."
On Tuesday, during his first official visit to
Washington this week since 2010, Lieberman thanked Clinton for the “very important message” recent sanctions on
Iran have sent.
He spoke of the significance of further sanctions
against Iran in his meetings at the State Department and on Capitol
“The measures that were taken in the last weeks sent a very
important message to the entire region,” he told Clinton, according to a
statement put out by the Foreign Ministry.
Later, standing alongside
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Lieberman welcomed “the very crucial
decision regarding sanctions” taken by the United States.
reporters whether those sanctions were sufficient, McCain answered, “Obviously
not, because Iran has not renounced their path towards the acquisition of a
He also addressed the issue of Syria – declaring that
the “blood-letting’s got to stop” and suggesting the US “start considering all options, including arming the opposition” – and noted the
discussion with Lieberman would also touch on other regional concerns including
But the main issue under consideration during Lieberman’s
Washington tour was clearly Iran, which comes amid escalating sanctions and
rhetoric as Tehran races on with its nuclear program in defiance of
international demands, as well as increasing speculation that Israel might
launch a military strike later this year.
That focus was underscored by
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), when
she said during their meeting the two of them would “talk about Iran, and Iran,”
and later “Iran” some more.
“At this critical time, we must support our
ally Israel and stand strongly and unequivocally with Israel in addressing the
threats to both our nations. Supporting Israel goes beyond rhetoric,” she said
in a statement put out ahead of their meeting. “It means applying crippling
sanctions and other pressure to stop Iran before it achieves a breakout nuclear
Speaking as the committee gathered with Lieberman, Ros-
Lehtinen said she was eager to hear how long Lieberman predicted it would be
before Iran had achieved nuclear “break-out capacity,” and also to see whether
he believed that the US and Israel were on the same page about how best to deal
with Tehran’s nuclear efforts.
She also criticized the Obama
administration for offering “conflicting assessments” about the US “red line”
when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.