Israeli President Peres: All options open on Iran

Israeli President Shimon Peres says “all options” are being kept open in forcing Iran to give up its nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes but Israel and others believe is aimed at building nuclear arms.


He said the economic sanctions against Iran now have not dissuaded the country from enriching uranium or building long-range missiles, although it may have affected Tehran’s public statements.

Peres said it would be better if sanctions did stop Iran from being “a center of terror, but all options are otherwise being kept.”

“The Syrians were forced this time by an agreement between the United States and Russia to give up their chemical arsenal,” he said. “They didn’t do it before the world threatened them with the military option.”

Peres spoke at the Peace Palace in The Hague after meeting with judges at the International Court of Justice, sometimes called the World Court, on Monday. The ICJ ruled in 2004 in a nonbinding advisory opinion that Israel’s security barrier violated international law. Israel rejected the opinion.

Asked whether Israel would be willing to join the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons as Syria is now doing, Peres said his government, which is widely believed to possess chemical weapons, “will consider” it.

Israel has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which forbids the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons and automatically leads to membership in the OPCW.

After Syria’s agreement last week to join the organization, only Israel, Egypt, North Korea, Burma, Angola and South Sudan are not members.

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council ordered the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to help Syria destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014. Inspectors from the OPCW were leaving the Netherlands on Monday for Syria to begin the process.

Asked what he thought of the speech by Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani to the United Nations last week in which Rouhani argued Iran’s nuclear program is purely civilian, Peres told reporters it contradicted a speech the Iranian leader gave just two days earlier to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In that, Rouhani vowed to continue building long-range missiles.

Peres said those missiles could have no purpose other than to carry nuclear warheads, so the two speeches were contradictory.

“I hope that the facts will justify the hopes of many that we will see a different Iran, but finally we can judge only by the acts and by the deeds,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to meet with President Barack Obama later Monday in Washington and discuss relations with Iran.

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  • Change Iran Now

    The US should judge Iranian leaders by their actions, not their words. As long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability, build longer-range ballistic missiles, sponsor terrorism around the world and abuse human rights, the US should impose maximum economic pressure on Iran to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. Regarding human rights, Rouhani can start by immediately releasing the 7 hostages taken in the Ahsraf massacre. On September 1, Iraqi forces killed 52 residents of Camp Ashraf, and took seven hostages. In this massacre, ordered by the religious fascism ruling Iran, the attackers’ shot unarmed people while their hands were tied behind their backs and they delivered coups de grace to the wounded lying on hospital beds (video ). This is a great crime against humanity that should not go unheeded in silence and inaction, especially that the rest of Ashraf residents and 3,000 residents in Camp Liberty are threatened by similar massacres. All residents of Ashraf and Liberty, including the 52 that have been cold-bloodily murdered, are protected persons by the Fourth Geneva Convention and asylum-seekers with U.S. and UN responsible for their safety. Iran needs to be held accountable and sanctions shouldn’t be lifted simply based on promises, but on concrete action.