Lieberman Thanks Clinton for U.S. Stand on Iran

Republican senator John McCain suggests arming Syrian opposition to halt violence.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman thanked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Washington's resolute stand on the Iranian issue on Tuesday, during a visit to the United States.

Clinton and Lieberman discussed the deteriorating situation in Syria, developments in Egypt and the Israeli-Palestinian political standstill. Lieberman said that Washington's recent steps, which included tightening sanctions on Iranian banks, send an important message to the region.

Hillary Clinton Avigdor Lieberman -  Reuters - 08022012

During his visit, the foreign minister also met with Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain.

Before meeting with Lieberman, McCain told reporters, "On Syria, we should start considering all options, including arming the opposition. The blood-letting has got to stop." The Republican senator added, "Iran hasn't renounced [its] path toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons."

Lieberman said, "We are waiting for Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and we express our appreciation for the [U.S.] support of Israel. We appreciate the very crucial decision of sanctions against Iran, and we continue to monitor it closely."

Upon his arrival, Lieberman attended a dinner organized by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, which was attended by dozens of congressmen.

On Monday, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she expected the talks with Lieberman to revolve around "Iran, Iran, and more Iran." She added that although she is optimistic about the Arab Spring, it was unfortunately "turning into an Iranian winter." When asked about the recent unity agreement between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Ros-Lehtinen replied: "Trouble, trouble."