Peres and Medvedev in recent meeting
Peres and Medvedev in recent meetingIsrael news photo: President's office

President Shimon Peres is emerging as a key player in U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he is scrapping a defense shield missile system in Poland.

The Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv suggested that Peres convinced Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to swing a deal by which the United States would scrap the system and Moscow would back stiffer economic sanctions against Iran. However, many analysts think that President Obama played into Russia’s hands and sold out both Israel and Europe.

The article by Maya Bengal was not based on any quoted sources. She surmised that Peres began arranging the deal during the administration of President George W. Bush, who was not in favor of the idea. The agreement reportedly began to take from after Obama took office. American and Russian officials have denied the existence of a deal, also suggested by several foreign analysts.

Suspicions of an Israeli-Russian-American arrangment rose last week when Russian President Dimitri Medvedev told CNN that President Peres, during a recent visit to Moscow, promised that Israel wouldn’t attack Russia. Medvedev also revealed that he met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his secret trip to Russia earlier this month.

The acid test of the reported deal will be Russia’s reaction to an American initiative to impose stiffer economic sanctions on Iran to pressure it to stop its uranium enrichment program, which will give it the capability of producing a nuclear warhead.

Former American Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton declared that Russian and Iran are the “clear winners” from President Obama’s decision to scrap the missile defense shield. "I think this is a near catastrophe for American relations with Eastern European countries and many in NATO," he said."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was the national security advisor to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, also doubted that Russia made a quid pro pro deal. “I doubt it,” he told the Daily Beast. “The Russians have their own interests in Iran, which are far more complex than the simplistic notion that the Russians want to help us with Iran.”

He backed President Obama’s decision, arguing that the proposed missile shield system “was based on a nonexistent defense technology, designed against a nonexistent threat, and designed to protect West Europeans who weren’t asking for the protection.”

In the same interview, Brzezinski asserted that the United States should shoot down Israeli planes if they crossed Iraqi air space to attack Iran.