Israel will take own Iran decisions: Lieberman

Israel will take own Iran decisions: Lieberman

Israel will take own Iran decisions: Lieberman

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a joint news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolai Mladenov (not pictured) after their meeting in Sofia March 2, 2012. REUTERS photo

Israel will take any decisions on Iran's nuclear activities as an "independent state," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday, on the eve of a US-Israel summit in Washington.

"Clearly, the United States is the biggest world power and the biggest and most important country that is a friend of Israel, but we are an independent state," Lieberman told Israeli public radio.

"Ultimately, the state of Israel will take the decisions that are most appropriate based on its evaluation of the situation," he said.

Lieberman's comments came shortly before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to hold talks in Washington with US President Barack Obama on Monday, a meeting expected to focus heavily on Iran's nuclear activities.

Israel, Washington and much of the international community believes that Iran's nuclear programme masks a weapons drive, a charge Tehran denies.

US intelligence is said to believe that Iran does not currently intend to produce nuclear weapons, though it may be seeking the capacity to do so, and Washington has emphasised the importance of deterrent sanctions and diplomacy.

But Israel is reportedly eager to move more quickly and decisively against Iran's nuclear activities, using a military strike to prevent it from obtaining even the capacity to take a decision to produce nuclear weapons.

"The Iranian file is well-known," Lieberman said. "The direction taken by Iran is clear." But he added that any decisions should be taken "calmly, weighing the pros and cons. All this chatter doesn't help anyone."

'World cannot protect Israel'

Israel's foreign minister says the international community's failure to stop the violence in Syria shows it cannot keep Israel safe.

Avigdor Lieberman says the inability of international leaders and aid workers to alleviate "systematic murder of innocent civilians" in Syria "challenges all the promises of the international community that they are responsible for our security." Lieberman spoke Sunday on Israel Radio.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.