Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday said the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad means that the time has finally come for the international community to take action against Iran’s defiant nuclear program.
Lieberman stressed that the problem with Iran was never just about Ahmadinejad, but about a national policy. With Ahmadinejad’s controversial electoral win, it is clear the powers that be in Iran are determined to push forward with that policy.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon added that if there was any hope in America and Europe that the election would bring change in Iran and soften its positions, that hope must now be thrown out the window, and a real plan of action formed.
Meanwhile, senior members of US President Barack Obama’s administration told The New York Times that he intends to press on with plans to hold dialogue with the Iranian regime. Obama has refused Israeli requests that he put a firm time limit on talks, and commit to stronger action if diplomacy fails to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
In an interview with ABC News last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that America no longer plans to directly defend Israel if Iran launches a nuclear attack against the Jewish state.
Clinton said that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons today it would face some sort of “retaliation.”
When reminded by her interviewer that during the 2008 presidential campaign Clinton said an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel would elicit a massive American military response, she attempted to sidestep the issue. When pressed further, Clinton repeated that an Iranian attack on Israel would bring some kind of retaliation, but refused to commit to a direct American response.
Many Israelis have been counting on an American nuclear umbrella to deter any hostile Iranian intentions, but some now fear Iran is being signaled that attacking Israel won’t cost them nearly as much as previously feared.
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