Peres and Patriota
Peres and Patriota Mark Naiman, GPO

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota on Sunday expressed concern over Israel’s threats to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. He made the remarks during a working meeting with President Shimon Peres.

"We see with great concern the State of Israel's threats to launch a military attack against Iran. These threats and future actions that may arise from them are extremely dangerous to the stability of the Middle East,” Patriota told Peres.

He then referred to former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010, saying that the former president “made it unequivocally clear that he was against Holocaust denial and that he in favor of peace and nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. This perception is still valid.”

Responding to the remarks, Peres said, "Make no mistake, Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons of mass destruction. It has no need for alternative energy or for nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes. The issue of a nuclear Iran is a serious one, and we must not be naïve when we look at Iran. While the United States says that all options must be on the table, the clear intent of all of us is that it is better to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons using negotiations or economic sanctions. But if political or economic methods do not bring about results, the military option will remain ready, serious and reliable on the table.”

Peres added, “I said in the past to the former President of Brazil, and I say today, that it was a mistake to sit and talk with Ahmadinejad, a leader who threatens genocide, a leader who denies the Holocaust, and a leader who finances terrorism in the world. This leader should be banned and should not be received by world leaders and we expect that Brazil will boycott future meetings with Ahmadinejad as well.”

Patriota also stressed the importance of renewing the peace process and said, "Brazil would like to see progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians."

President Peres replied that "Israel wants peace, especially in this period which is a period of transition. Peace is important but it is also important not to damage existing relationships. We need to be patient and work to promote the peace process."

Patriota also met on Sunday with his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said that not making the right decisions, coupled with an unwillingness to adopt new anti-Iran sanctions, will bring us to the edge of a new reality, like that of the 30s, in which the West decided to appease Hitler instead of nipping him in the bud.

Lieberman said it was "critical, vital and necessary" for the EU to give the Iranians the right message – that is, that the West has enough willpower and determination to stymie Iran's attempts to destabilize the world.

On Friday, the European Union reached a preliminary deal on a broad package of new sanctions on Iran.

The new measures focus on the energy, commerce, financial and transport sectors. They are set to be signed off Monday when foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg.