Peres: Olmert Conviction 'A Sad Day for Israel'

On a visit to Austria Monday, Shimon Peres discussed with Austria's Heinz Fischer Iran, the peace process - and Ehud Olmert.

David Lev,

President Peres in Austria
President Peres in Austria
Mark Naiman/GPO

On a visit to Austria Monday, President Shimon Peres said that the events of Monday morning, in which a long list of Israeli political leaders – including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – were found guilty of corruption and bribe taking, made it a “very sad day for Israel.”

Peres is on a state visit to Austria, where he met President Heinz Fischer. The two reviewed a troop of Austrian Royal Guards and met privately to discuss matters of state, including the Middle East peace process and the Iranian nuclear program.

After the meeting, the two held a press conference, in which Peres discussed, among other things, the Iranian program.

“Iran is a danger to the world,” Peres said.

“The current leadership of Iran must change its actions, not just its words,” he said, referring to the negotiations Iran has been holding with Western powers on the program. “That there has been a change of tone from President Rouhani is not sufficient.” 

“We do not oppose the Iranian people,” Peres continued. “We oppose the leadership that declares that it is not developing nuclear weapons, but actually works on building nuclear warheads on missiles that can reach thousands of kilometers away.”

Fischer, who is set to visit Iran in the near future, said that “we hope the agreements that will be worked out between Iran and the Western countries will be honored.”

“There is no question that the current situation is critical,” he said, adding that he hoped that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would continue, despite declarations by the PA that it planned to end negotiations unless Israel capitulated to its demands to release more terrorists.