Avigdor Lieberman in China March 16, 2012 (Reuters)
China's Vice President Xi Jinping (R) talks to FM Avigdor Lieberman during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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Israel hopes sanctions and negotiations will persuade the Iranian government to end its nuclear program, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday.

"We believe the international community is capable of stopping Iran and it's just a matter of determination and of being firm," he told a news conference in Beijing, where he is on an official visit.

Lieberman's comments come amid growing speculation that Israel will soon launch a military strike on Iran to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Israel sees Iran as an existential threat, fearing that nuclear bombs could be used to back up statements by Iranian leaders that Israel should be wiped off the map. Iran insists that its nuclear program is purely for peaceful pursuits.

While no Israeli leader has explicitly threatened - in as many words - to attack Iran, officials, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down, have repeatedly hinted that such a scenario cannot be ruled out, adopting the mantra that all options regarding Iran are on the table.

"We prefer that the international community solve the problem though talks, negotiations, and other means, but if this doesn't happen we reserve the right to defend ourselves," Lieberman said.

He said that despite the sanctions against Iran, Tehran showed no sign of giving up on its nuclear ambitions.

Lieberman added that he agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that talks due to begin next month "are the last chance for Iran to solve the matter peacefully."