More and more Western countries are joining a growing list of countries who are applying heavy international pressure on Israel to prevent it from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. The latest voice is that of the new Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr.
Several days ago, Carr phoned his Israeli college Avigdor Lieberman. This was the first telephone call between the two. Aside from the niceties of the first formal phone call, Carr took advantage of the conversation in order to warn Lieberman that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will have serious consequences.
Carr revealed the contents of the conversation during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Our position is very clear – we counsel Israel against taking military action apart from any other consideration. It is not in the interest of Israel - I said that to the Israeli Foreign Minister when I spoke to him last week,” Carr said. Despite insisting he was concerned over an Israeli strike, Carr said a military operation was still only a “hypothetical solution.”
Carr further stated that sanctions against Tehran were “taking their toll and needed more time. Sanctions are having a clear economic effect, a damaging economic effect, and there is some evidence, not to be overstated, that that’s had the effect of a revival of interest in Tehran in a negotiated settlement with the Five Plus One grouping [Permanent UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany].”
Carr’s message is one of several public declarations on the part of many Western countries that have warned Israel not to attack Iran. Just a few days ago, Germany’s Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in an interview with the newspaper Bild that he had warned Ehud Barak against an attack on Iran during their meeting in Berlin last week.
“Some Israeli cabinet members do not estimate enough the negative consequences of such attacks,” said de Maiziere. “I told Ehud Barak that it was hard to calculate the consequences, and one mustn't take uncalculated risks," he added.
Barak, who visited Tokyo a few weeks ago, heard a similar message from Japan’s prime minister, who warned that an Israeli attack would result in “serious consequences for the entire Middle East.” A few days later, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that he did not “think the Israelis should take that action now. We told them they shouldn't and said we wouldn't support it if they did. We've been very clear," Cameron said.