'Assertive int'l reaction on Iran overrides Israeli response'

Assertive intl reactio

Israel has clamped a blackout on government responses to the recent Iranian developments - both the revelation of a hidden uranium enrichment facility and the test of the Shihab-3 missile - saying that other countries are responding adequately and there is no need for Israel to get publicly involved. The policy comes, however, after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted as saying Saturday that immediate action was needed by the international community to "overthrow the mad regime of Teheran." Notwithstanding Lieberman, one government official said the decision not to respond to the recent development came because other countries - the US, France, Britain and even Russia - were responding assertively. This policy is in line with Israel's longtime policy, that it does not want to take the public lead against Teheran so as not to create the impression that a nuclear Iran with ballistic missiles is only an Israeli problem. The White House on Monday called the tests "provocative," with Reuters quoting spokesman Robert Gibbs saying "I would lump any of these into the provocative nature in which Iran has operated on the world stage for a number of years." Britain said Monday's test further illustrates why Europe and the US have serious concerns about Iran's nuclear intentions. "This sends the wrong signal to the international community at a time when Iran is due to meet" the six world powers, Britain's Foreign Office said. The six nations are the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband reacted to the test in a Sky News interview, saying it is "part of an annual provocation that Iran engages with. I think it's very important that we are not distracted from the central issue of this week and more particularly the meeting on Thursday between Iran and representatives of the international community. Iran needs to show it's serious about obeying the international rules, no more, no less. That is the test that counts this week." The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the test reinforced concerns of countries in the area and the international community at a time when a clandestine enrichment facility has just been revealed, and called on Teheran to cease these "deeply destabilizing" actions. AP contributed to this report.