"If, god forbid, a war with breaks out with Iran, it will be a nightmare. Everyone will be involved, including the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia," Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily during an official visit to China.
"We must make every effort so that the international community will take responsibility and stop Iran," the foreign minister said.
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Lieberman arrived in Beijing on Thursday. On Saturday he met with Vice President Xi Jinping and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in hopes of persuading them to support tightening the sanctions on Iran.
During the meeting, Israel's top diplomat said next month's talks between Tehran and the West represent the final opportunity to resolve the nuclear crisis peacefully.
According to a report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month, Iran has expanded its nuclear enrichment activities, particularly at the Natanz plant. Lieberman is ware of China's central role in resolving the crisis.
"Israel is keeping all of its options on the table," he told Yedioth, "but we believe that with a united international front the Iranians can be convinced to abandon their nuclear ambitions. If all five permanent Security Council members present Iran with an unequivocal demand – they (Iranians) will have no choice."
"The Chinese have a lot of influence over Iran, and their position during the negotiations in April will be crucial," Lieberman stated. "Despite the differences of opinion, the Chinese treat (Israel) with respect. They are very pragmatic, and this gives me hope. They are very concerned by the Iranian issue as well, because Iran's conduct is totally unacceptable. Such an irresponsible regime – if it obtains nuclear weapons – poses a threat to the entire world."
Asked whether he preferred a military strike over the possibility of existing alongside a nuclear Iran, the Israeli FM said "a country such as Iran does not seek nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes. Therefore, the alternatives we are facing are Iran using nuclear weapons against us, or we prevent such a scenario."
During his visit, Lieberman also discussed ways to boost relations between Israel and China and seek further cooperation in agriculture, technology and science.
Itamar Eichner contributed to the report
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