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Israel to take ‘independent’ decision on Iran strike

Published time: March 04, 2012 21:08
Edited time: March 05, 2012 02:01
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on March 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Dimitar Dilkoff)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on March 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Dimitar Dilkoff)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said his government will make decisions on Iran independently. The statement comes on the eve of a US-Israel summit in Washington where Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program will take center stage.

­“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 said on Israeli radio.

Israel is keen to push for an attack on its Muslim neighbor in a bid to curtail the country’s military capabilities. Leiberman cited the international community’s failure to stop the bloodshed in Syria as evidence that Israel would have to take matters into its own hands to “protect itself.”

“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?” Lieberman asked his audience.

Pressure for military intervention to curb Iran’s alleged atomic weapons program is reaching a boiling point, with US President Barack Obama saying the US would not “hesitate to use force”to defend its interests in the region.

The American head of state appealed to Israel at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the country’s most powerful lobbies, on Monday in Washington. Obama asked for time to allow economic sanctions on Iran to further isolate the nation. However, he also warned Iran “not to test US resolve.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Obama on Monday, with the Israeli president expected to push Washington to back a military attack on Iran. In recent weeks Israel has been ratcheting up the pressure on its long-term supporter to back such a strike, with Netanyahu reportedly accusing US general Martin Dempsey of being a “servant to Iran.”

The two countries are currently locked in dialogue over Iran’s alleged but unproven development of nuclear arms.

Tehran denies the charges set against it by Western governments, and maintains that its nuclear activities are for purely civilian ends.

American intelligence officials have reported that Iran is not currently developing nuclear arms but may be seeking the means to do so. Washington has thus far favored heavy economic sanctions and diplomatic measures to further isolate Iran and its people from the global community.

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