"Iran is the center of all corruption. They kill, threaten, and poison….They are a significant threat to the entire world, not just to Israel," said President Shimon Peres today at the opening of the 2011 "Globes" Israel Business Conference taking place at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. Peres made the remark in response to a question from CNN's Richard Quest, who asked him whether Iran is the central issue that Israel is dealing with.
"I want to see more actual results; President Barack Obama said that he will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power, as did President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Everyone thinks that Iran is dangerous," Peres added. When asked what he expects the world to do, Peres said, "To tighten the economic and political pressure on Iran. I hope that responsible countries like the US will put enough pressure on Iran."
When asked about Israel's plan for military action against Iran, Peres said, "Everything is on the table, but I don't want to get into this. We need to try everything else possible, and not use military action."
In response to Quest's questions about political negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that there is a window of opportunity that should not be missed, Peres said "I would love to see the Palestinians engaging in talks with Israel now. I believe that Palestinian Authority leaders are serious people who are interested in peace. This is not an issue of reputation, but of life and death."
Peres spoke about Israeli's high-tech industry and its human capital, and compared them with Arab countries, which are rich with natural resources. "We are lucky that we have none. Israel has only one-thousandth of the area of Arab countries. We have swamps in the north, and desert in the south. We have two lakes: one is dead, and the second is disappearing and fed by only one river. Despite all this, we discovered that we have quality people. We have enriched the land, and the people here are smart and flexible."
When asked about the hostile atmosphere surrounding Israel in the Middle East, and whether it will improve in the future, Peres answered, "Maybe in certain areas. I am optimistic. Even after 88 years, I am still optimistic."
In response to a question about Israel-US relations during the Obama administration, Peres said, "Relations with the US are excellent. We are the only country that the US has aided so much and still remained pro-American."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2011
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