Lieberman: Israel's Interests Come First in Dealing With Iran Threat

Israel's foreign minister tells Israel Radio that Jerusalem did not 'dictate anything' to the United States.

U.S. pressure would not affect Israeli thinking on how to cope with the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday.

Asked about comments made last week by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said that he was "not bluffing" about attacking Iran if it were to build a nuclear weapon, Lieberman told Israel Radio that Jerusalem did not "dictate anything" to the United States.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

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"It is definitely important to discuss the issue in the appropriate forums and make decisions quietly and responsibly. All this chatter does not help anybody," Lieberman said.

Asked what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should tell Obama - when the two leaders meet on Monday in Washington - to ensure that Israel is not left alone to deal with the Iranian threat, Lieberman said the sides would exchange opinions but ultimately Israel would act in its own interests.

"President Obama definitely doesn't need our advice," the foreign minister said. "We are an independent sovereign state, and at the end of the day, the State of Israel will make the most correct decisions as we understand them."

If the international community was incapable of stopping the bloodshed in Syria, it made him wonder how much worth foreign promises to guarantee Israel's security were, Lieberman added.

"We will do what it takes to preserve Israel's qualitative military edge - because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," Obama told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday.

Obama said in his speech that a nuclear Iran would run "counter to the national security interests" of the United States as well as Israel, and that he would not hesitate to use force to defend American interests.

Obama criticized recent public speculation about the possibility of military action against Iran.