Israel’s strategic affairs minister urged Iranians to choose a more moderate government.
Avigdor Lieberman appeared on Israel Radio’s Farsi service late Monday, taking questions from Iranian listeners.
Lieberman said he believes international diplomatic pressure could curb Iran’s attempts to attain a nuclear bomb, and that now is not the time for preventive military strikes by Israel or the United States.
“I don’t think a military solution is the right way to go at this point in time,” Lieberman said. “The most effective way to stop the Iranian nuclear program is through economic sanctions. Such was the case with Libya and Korea.”
He drew a distinction between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is virulently anti-Israel, and the Iranian public, voicing hope for renewed bilateral ties once the regime in Tehran is gone.
“I hope that the extremist leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be replaced by a leadership that cares about the Iranian people,” Lieberman said.
“We want to cooperate with Iranians, in contrast to Ahmadinejad, who wants to wipe Israel off the map,” he added. ” I therefore suggest to the citizens of Iran that next time they go vote, they think hard about who they are voting for.”