“Iran comes to the international conference like this and talks in a way that is simply dishonest,” said Lieberman
US Senators Joe Lieberman (L) and John Kerry (R)
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, the two US officials criticized the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashto who threw her lot with more dialogue over Iran’s nuclear program.
The two went on to claim that Iran has been ‘explicitly dishonest’ over its uranium enrichment and thus does not deserve further dialogue, or diplomacy for that matter.
“Iran comes to the international conference like this and talks in a way that is simply dishonest,” said Lieberman, who chairs the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and is known for his pro-Israeli stance on international issues.
Rather than dealing with Iran through diplomatic negotiations, Lieberman asserted that the US should try to deal with the Tehran government through other means.
“Dialogues have being going on for last six years, (and) there are always dialogues,” he said. “But the Iranians do not take the chance. I think it simply has to get a tougher economic sanction if any kind of diplomacy is over, and military will never be necessary.”
His remarks were instantly backed by John Kerry, the former US presidential candidate who now heads the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
“We are united in the congress, senate house, the administration and with our allies here in Europe,” said Kerry.
This comes as Iran is trying to find a middle ground with the West in swapping its low-enriched uranium with more refined nuclear material for the Tehran research reactor.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki expressed hope on Saturday that an agreement on the nuclear fuel proposal will soon be reached with the Western side, but with the changes that Tehran seeks.
His remarks were largely ignored by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has instead insisted on the imposition of fresh sanctions on the country.
Washington accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons and has for years levied sanctions and threatened the country with war scenarios to force the Tehran government into halting its nuclear activities.
Iran which has been under various US sanctions after the Islamic Revolution toppled a US-backed monarch in 1979 rejects the accusations as politically motivated.
Iran’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. After the 1979 Revolution, Western companies working on Iran’s program refused to fulfill their obligations even though they had been paid in full.
Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, unlike some of its regional neighbors, has opened its enrichment plants to UN inspection.