The London Times quoted former US president Jimmy Carter on Sunday as saying Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
In a speech at a literary festival in Hay-on-Wye, in Wales, the 83-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner said said the United States had to begin holding direct talks with Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
"We need to talk to Iran now, and continue our discussions with Iran, to let Iran know the benefits, and the detrimental side, of continuing with their nuclear program," he said.
Carter also described Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as "one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth" and called the failure of the European Union to support the Palestinian cause was "embarrassing."
"There is no reason to treat these people this way," referring to the blockade, in place since Hamas
seized Gaza in a bloody coup in June 2007.
Carter said European countries should be "encouraging the formation of a unity government," including Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, which is the officially recognized ruling party of the Palestinian Authority.
"They should be encouraging Hamas to have a ceasefire in Gaza alone, as a first step," he told the invited guests.
"They should be encouraging Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement in prisoner exchange and, as a second step, Israel should agree to a ceasefire in the West Bank, which is Palestinian territory."