Peres: World Running Out of Patience With Iran

If Tehran doesn't watch out, it could find itself facing armed action by Western countries tired of its stonewalling, Shimon Peres said

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David Lev,

Shimon Peres (Archive)
Shimon Peres (Archive)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

In an interview on CNN in advance talks between Iran and Western countries on Tehran's nuclear program, President Shimon Peres said that “time is running out” for Iran. You cannot provoke the world, assuming the world is made of fools only," Peres told the network.

The talks got underway in Moscow Monday, after several inconclusive sessions over the past several months in Baghdad and Istanbul. The talks, with the U.S., Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany on one side of the table and Iran on the other, were “not going well,” an Iranian source quoted by European news agencies said Monday afternoon. If progress was not achieved over the two days of scheduled talks, the source said, Tehran would have to question the wisdom of another round.

The talks come days before a set of harsh sanctions by the European Union are set to go into effect. EU officials said over the weekend that they have no plans to delay those sanctions.

In the interview, Peres said that Iran might have deeper worries than sanctions. Their behavior, he said, would not be tolerated much longer by the world, and Tehran's stonewalling on cooperating with the West on its nuclear program was essentially painting itself into a corner. Eventually, Iran's actions could prompt a war.

That, at least, was the stance the West needed to take; that if it did not cooperate, Iran could be facing armed international action. “If the Iranians will understand seriously that this is an option, maybe we shall not need it," Peres told CNN "If they think this is a bluff, then it may lead to a war.” And the only way Iran would believe that the West was serious would be if the West acted seriously, conscientiously applying the promised sanctions and other steps that needed to be exhausted before considering an attack on Iran. “The warning must be credible, the sanctions must be credible,” Peres said. "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.' "

When asked what would happen if sanctions failed, Peres said that it was unwise to discuss such things on television. “I can only testify that there are many varied and serious options. This is not the place fpr details,” Peres added.