Netanyahu has no time to waste
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Lieberman fears Russia and China
Israel pushing for sanctions on Iran
Jerusalem refuses to wait for Security Council resolution, launches diplomatic campaign aimed at pressuring series of leading countries to act against Islamic republic. 'Only tough sanctions, which will not allow the Iranian regime to continue ignoring the world, will stop its nuclear program,' says Foreign Minister Lieberman
Time is running out, and Israel has decided not to depend on the United Nations in terms of sanctions on Iran . The Foreign Ministry has launched extensive diplomatic activities aimed at pressuring a series of the world's leading countries to impose sanctions on Iran, even if the Security Council fails to make such a decision.
Israel is trying to get the United States, Australia, Canada and some leading European countries to tighten the economic blockade and sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic. The goal is to undermine the stability of the Iranian regime, which is weaker than perceived by the world so far, in order to force it to choose between preserving its regime and halting its nuclear program.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been holding discussions recently on "the day after" the talks between the Obama administration and the Ahmadinejad regime fail. This is scheduled to happen next month, according to a timetable set by the Americans.
In these meetings - which have also been attended by Ministers Dan Meridor, Moshe Ya'alon and Benny Begin – the six senior officials discussed the Israeli response for such a situation.
In one of the discussions, the foreign minister said there was a possibility that China – and perhaps Russia as well – would prevent the UN Security Council from imposing severe sanctions on Iran.
This assumption is based on difficulties revealed in the past four rounds of sanctions imposed on Tehran, during which Beijing and Moscow were in no hurry to act against the Ayatollah regime's attempt to attain a nuclear bomb.
Separate action, tight cooperation
Lieberman has said in closed forums that the target date for taking action outside the UN framework must follow the General Assembly meeting in September.
If Obama's dialogue with Iran fails, and China and Russia thwart tough Security Council sanctions, Lieberman believes Israel must aim to have a separate blockade imposed by each Western country, with tight cooperation.
According to the foreign minister, this effort should include – outside the UN framework – the European Union countries and the organization in Brussels, Canada, Australia and of course the US, which would lead the entire move.
Lieberman has instructed Israel's envoys abroad to work to form effective moves, which each of the countries could take directly against Tehran, with no need for the Security Council to intervene.
"Only tough sanctions, which will not allow the Iranian regime to continue ignoring the world, will make it possible to stop the nuclear plan," the foreign minister said.
State officials have estimated that China and Russia may prevent an effective blockade aimed at stopping the Iranian nuclear program. Such a blockade, the sources explained, should include harming the Iranian oil export market and preventing the Islamic republic from shipping goods out of its ports.
The Jerusalem forum's working premise is that such effective action is the only way to really threaten Ahmadinejad's regime, which is weak as it is, ahead of the possibility of forceful action.
Israel believes that an effective blockade could lead to one of two outcomes: Causing Ahmadinejad to halt the nuclearization process – in order not to lose power in Tehran, or replacing the Ayatollah regime by the Iranian people, who are aware of the atmosphere in the free world, as seen following the recent presidential elections.
In addition, Israel hopes, such a situation will also harm Iran's satellite organizations – Hamas and Hezbollah.