Contextual Content

Lieberman wants stronger action against Iran

Senator Joe Lieberman appeared on the ABC program "This Week" on Sunday. Lieberman, a staunch supporter of John McCain, claimed that not only Israel but also Arab nations want the US to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Lieberman did not say which Arab states he was talking about.

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Story Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK (VOICEOVER): On Sunday, Senator Joe Lieberman appeared on the ABC program "This Week." Lieberman, a strong supporter of John McCain, claimed that not only Israel but also Arab nations want the US to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

JOE LIEBERMAN, US SENATOR (ID-CT): I would say that, obviously, Israel is first in the line of Iranian fire, and it represents an existential threat to Israel. But you know who’s next? The Arab countries in the Middle East, and they’re worried about the Iranian program and want us to act strongly to stop it.

JAY: Lieberman did not say which Arab states he was talking about. In recent months, there have been many high-level visits between Iran and many Gulf states, as well as attempts that are being made to reestablish relations between Iran and Egypt since they were cut off in 1981. Last month in Kuwait, the country liberated by the US in the first Gulf War, the parliamentary speaker said that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program was no source of concern for his country. Lieberman did not quote the National Intelligence Estimate produced by US intelligence agencies that said Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Senator Jack Reed, who backed Senator Barack Obama for president, said that more was needed to be done diplomatically, as military actions by Israel would have dire consequences for the region.

JACK REED, US SENATOR (D-RI): —from the military commanders I’ve spoken to, that the yellow lights are blinking very, very quickly. In fact, I think even it might be a flashing red, because the consequences in the region would be significant, and they would be region-wide. There would be a reaction. I think there would be a very adverse reaction. And I think we have to seize the time. As short as it might be, we have to seize the time for a diplomatic approach sincerely.

JAY: Senator Reed suggested it would be useful to have Russia’s help in the region.

REED: One of the things we have to do is engage the Russians, ’cause they’re one of the key players. And I think some of the policies of the administration, particularly trying to put missile systems in Poland and Lithuania, has distracted them from consciously, sincerely concentrating on one issue, which is getting the Russians to help us on Iran.

JAY: In fact, on Thursday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed concern about the pressure being exerted on Iran in an interview published on his official Internet site, www.kremlin.ru. He said: "If we are conducting negotiations with Iran, we should not take actions which incite the Iranian leadership and are aimed at the introduction of additional sanctions. For me it is completely unclear why such a decision was taken recently by the European Union. I mean, either we talk to them or we use every petty excuse there is to tweak our negotiating partners."

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.