President Shimon Peres hinted on Friday that Israel was closer than ever to taking military action to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program.
In a special interview he gave to Israel’s Channel2 News, Peres said that a military strike would probably solve the Iranian issue better than diplomatic methods would.
“It seems Iran is moving closer to having a nuclear weapon,” Peres said. “In the time that remains, we need to turn to the nations of the world and tell them that the time has come to fulfill their promise and their responsibility, which is about more than imposing sanctions.”
“We must do what should be done to stop Iran, and there is a very long menu of options that I do not want to elaborate about,” he added. “I want to remind of the urgent political and moral obligation (of other countries). It’s not just our problem, but also theirs.”
Peres said that he believes that the security forces of other countries around the world are also well aware of the growing danger of Iran having nuclear weapons.
“I believe that all the intelligence agencies of these countries are looking at the clock and are warning their leaders that there is not much time left,” he said. “But I’m not sure these leaders are coming to the appropriate conclusions on this matter.”
Peres’ interview comes at the conclusion of a week of media speculation about a possible Israeli strike in Iran. The speculations are based on unverified claims that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been lobbying for ministerial support for the strike.
The Israeli government has reportedly ordered a probe into leaks to the media which caused these speculations.
In the interview, Peres called for levelheadedness regarding the public debate on Iran.
“We need to take all of this talk into one responsible political framework,” he said. “In difficult situations we need to keep our peace of mind and not get hysterical. We have to consider all the alternatives. The ministers are aware that they need to follow the law and I suspect they’ll do that.”
The President also criticized the statements made by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who said earlier this week that “Gilad Shalit is no hero” and criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu for coming to welcome Shalit personally when he was released from Hamas captivity.
“There is a debate over the term hero,” said Peres, who himself paid a visit to Gilad Shalit in his home recently. “There’s a hero on the battlefield and there are people who are heroes on their own. The fact that Gilad was held in captivity for five and a half years and came back sane despite all the suffering... I think it’s heroic. He is a hero in this sense of withstanding tremendous pressure. He stood his test.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)