Lieberman: Israel can handle the Iranian nuclear threat on its own

By Gideon Alon

Haaretz

Adar 11, 5767

Israel is capable of dealing with the Iranian threat on its own, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

"Israel has the capability to deal with the Iranian threat, even in the worst case scenario in which our friends throughout the world stop dealing with the threat and we are left on our own," he said.

Lieberman warned that "unless Iran is contained and it is blocked from achieving its goal, the minute it acquires non-conventional weapons the entire Middle East will enter a mad arms race and it is therefore the obligation of the Western world to block Iran."

The minister said the sanctions against Iran were effective and have delivered a shock to the Iranian economy, which is managed by 50 to 60 families holding monopolies.

Lieberman said that sanctions should be directed at those families by restricting their travel and limiting their banking transactions.

He expressed hope that the sanctions would bring about a collapse of the Iranian regime.

Lieberman, who recently returned from a visit to Russia, said Moscow would not oppose stiffer sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council.

"Russia and Israel are on one side of the barricades. I think Russia will back harsh sanctions against Iran," Lieberman said in an interview published in the Kommersant newspaper on Wednesday.

Russia's position regarding Tehran has changed lately, he said.

"Everything keeps changing. Russia was to start shipping nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, but it has not done so," he said.

"The ideology professed by Iran does boils down to the elimination of Israel alone. It conveys a totally different approach to life," Lieberman said.