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Israeli president: Iran threatens US, Europe

Israeli president: Iran threatens US, Europe

Israel's president warned Monday that Iran's nuclear program threatens the U.S., Europe and Arab nations, as well as Israel.
"The fanatic rulers of Iran are on the wrong side of history," Shimon Peres told a convention of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
"In addition to their nuclear option, they invest huge capital in long-range missiles," he said, even though Iran is not threatened by any enemies. He said "Iran funds and arms Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza to spread divisions in Lebanon and among the Palestinians, divisions and terror."
Peres said, "Their agents target Americans, Europeans, Arabs and other people." However, he did not call for action against Iran.
Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program, development of ballistic missiles and repeated calls from its president to wipe Israel off the map. Rejecting Iranian claims that its nuclear program is peaceful, Israel has called on the world to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and has not taken the option of military action off the table.
The Israeli president meets President Barack Obama on Tuesday. He endorsed Obama's call for an outstretched hand instead of a clenched fist but warned that the world is under a dark cloud of militant extremists.
Peres said Israel's new, hawkish government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, wants to work for peace. But Peres, like Netanyahu, did not mention creation of a Palestinian state, though the Israeli elder statesman has worked for what is known as the "two-state solution" for many years. Netanyahu was scheduled to address the AIPAC convention later.
Peres, 85, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, explained that while Netanyahu used to be his political opponent, "now he is my prime minister," emphasizing the ceremonial nature of his role as president.
Peres praised a 2002 Arab peace initiative, offering Israel normal relations in exchange for withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, while adding that since Israel was not a party to drawing up the proposal, it does not have to agree to every word.


Updated : 2021-02-27 11:43 GMT+08:00