Lieberman: US must make ‘ironclad pledge’ to prevent nuclear Iran

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Monday that the United States needs to make an “ironclad pledge” that it will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons capability — and will use force if necessary to stop it.

“It’s time for the United States to make an ironclad pledge which will be heard both by our friends and enemies in the Middle East and throughout the world,” Lieberman said, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Monday.

“The U.S. will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, by peaceful means if we can, but by military force if we absolutely must,” he said.

Lieberman said that Iran will continue to pursue nuclear weapons if Tehran doesn’t believe that the Obama administration will follow through on its threats.

“Nothing is more harmful to stopping Iran peacefully than the suspicion that in the end we will give up,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman’s speech to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, continued the strong rhetoric that he’s used toward Iran as tensions with Tehran have continued to escalate.

Lieberman is one of the main sponsors of a Senate resolution that says a nuclear containment policy toward Iran is unacceptable. He said he expects the lobbying AIPAC plans this week will boost the number of senators who sign on to the bipartisan resolution.

He said this posture toward Iran is “precisely” what President Obama has also said, and that now Congress needs to back him up.

But Lieberman also touched on gas prices, an economic concern that’s become a campaign issue in the presidential election, as he argued that a nuclear Iran is a global concern, not just Israel’s.

“If you think gas prices are high now in our country, imagine what will happen if Iran could back up its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz with a nuclear weapon,” Lieberman said. “This is a future we cannot afford.”