Peres 'Disappointed' in Spain?

President on visit to Madrid delivers stern warnings about dangers posed by Iran but adds a lighter note as well.

Yoni Kempinski , | updated: 6:21 PM

President Peres meets the press in Madrid
President Peres meets the press in Madrid
Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

President Shimon Peres met Wednesday with 400 government leaders, senior media editors, ambassadors, and opinion leaders from Spain. The questions asked related to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear threat, the Iranian military ships' passage through the Suez Canal, and the so-called "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians.

In response to a question about the Iranian warships, the President said that this was "a cheap provocation" on the part of Iran, but that the transit of the ships in itself is not a threat on our region. The real threat is a "clear warning sign to you and the entire world" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction, he explained:

"When nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terror organizations, or Iranian proxies, European capitals will be under an existential threat. Spain has suffered terribly from terror attacks and this will be the lot of many other countries in the world if they do not take drastic measures against Iran. Iran desires to take over the entire Middle East and impose its radical religious hegemony on the inhabitants of the Middle East."

The President also added that besides economic sanctions, the world should establish a moral campaign, a "heavy moral boycott" of Ahmadinejad, in order to "strengthen the level of embarrassment" with regard to Iran. Leaders who are photographed next to Ahmadinejad should be made to feel embarrassed and they should be prevented from being invited to walk the red carpets of the United Nations, Peres suggested.

Regarding the recent events in the Middle East, the President said that Israel supports the strengthening of democracy and peace in the Middle East. The younger generation of the Middle East, he explained, demands freedom, equality, and the opportunity to live honorably. "We support this," he emphasized. "Actually, as a result of the recent events there is a great opportunity for Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. The gaps between the two sides are not great and with a concerted effort, within a short period of time we can sign a diplomatic peace agreement between us".

The President concluded his remarks on a lighter note and said: "I thought I would come to Spain and that there would be action, noisy demonstrations and shouting. In the meantime everything is quiet and I have been received very warmly everywhere. I am very disappointed." The participants laughed loudly and showed their appreciation by applauding extensively.

Yesterday Peres spoke with the Jewish community in Madrid and related to the events in the Arab world.