President Shimon Peres usually weighs his words carefully when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program, but in a Monday interview with CNN he voiced a more threatening tone.
Amid a new round of talks between Iran and the P+5 countries in Moscow, Peres told CNN's Elise Labott that Iran is running out of time for a diplomatic solution vis-à-vis its nuclear program and warned the Islamic Republic leaders that they are making a grave mistake by thinking that a military offensive is not a viable option.
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The president noted that Iran continues to mock the United Nations and world leaders by resuming its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. "You cannot provoke the world, assuming the world is made of fools only," he said.
Must stay united. Peres and Obama (Photo: GPO)
Peres urged the international community to stay united on the Iranian issue, and called on the United States to step up its efforts to reach a solution. While Peres expressed his support in pursuing a non-military solution, including sanctions, he stressed that there must be a credible threat of a military strike for those options to be successful.
"If the Iranians will understand seriously that this is an option, maybe we shall not need it," he said, adding that "If they think this is a bluff, then it may lead to a war."
"For that reason, the warning must be credible, the sanctions must be credible. So let's first of all use the non-military means, indicating to the Iranians, 'Gentlemen, better you agree with a non-military confrontation than look for other options'", Peres told CNN.
Asked whether he is expecting any positive outcome from the talks in Moscow, Peres said: "I am not sure that something will happen there for two reasons. (First,) the Iranians think this is just a warning, that people are not serious enough. And the second is they believe it can introduce a split in the coalition that President Obama has built."
Peres refused to discuss the military options on the table but said that there are many different possibilities at hand. He also stressed the urgency of reaching an agreement, saying that Iran is continuing to build a bomb and enrich uranium while ignoring UN resolutions and the IAEA.
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