Peres in Spain
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
President Shimon Peres warned against the Iranian nuclear threat Wednesday, also inveighing against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi amid bloody protests signifying the possible overturning of his regime.
In a speech Peres gave before senior journalists and diplomats in Spain, Peres said Gaddafi was concerned only for himself. "You can see by his outfits how much he spends on clothing rather than on people," he said.
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On the rapidly spreading protests in Arab states Peres said, "Israel supports the strengthening of democracy and peace in the Middle East. The youth of the region demand freedom, equal opportunities, and the right to live decently and we applaud this."
He added that the recent developments in the region provide both Israel and the Palestinians with an opportunity to return to direct negotiations. "The gaps between the sides are not too big," Peres said.
Peres also offered a calmer reaction than other Israeli officials to the passing of Iranian ships through the Suez Canal Tuesday.
"The Iranian ships are a cheap provocation and not a threat," he said. However, he also had a warning for European countries regarding the Islamic Republic. "You are sleeping. One day you will wake up with nuclear warheads pointed at Madrid," he said.
"The real threat stands as a clear warning sign to Europe and the entire world: Iran is developing nuclear weapons for mass destruction, and when nuclear weapons reach the hands of terror organizations, Iran's satellites, all of Europe's capitals will be under existential threat," Peres warned.
"Leaders who have their pictures taken beside Ahmadinejad should be ashamed, and he must not be invited to march on the UN's red carpets."
Peres added that the Iranian threat encompasses all of Europe. "Spain has suffered very serious terror attacks, and this will be the fate of many countries in the world if drastic measures are not taken against Iran," he said.
The president also joked that he was "disappointed" at the warm welcome he received in Spain, explaining that he was accustomed to be received with protests and threats.
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