Israel's Peres: ready to meet Rowhani and transform enemies into friends

Published December 8th, 2013 - 03:15 GMT
Israeli President Shimon Peres says he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani. [AFP]
Israeli President Shimon Peres says he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani. [AFP]

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Sunday he would be prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani, Agence France-Presse reported.

Asked at an economic forum on Sunday of the possibility of a meeting, Peres replied: “Why not? I don’t have enemies. It’s not a question of personalities but of policies.

“The aim is to transform enemies into friends,” said the president, whose role in Israeli politics is largely symbolic with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the more influential position.

Peres also stated that “there was a time that we did not meet, for example, with [Palestinian leader] Yasser Arafat,” until his Palestine Liberation Organisation recognized Israel.

“We must concentrate all our efforts on making sure Iran does not become a nuclear danger for the rest of the world,” he told journalists.

Israel accuses Iran of working to develop a nuclear bomb, a charge denied by the Islamic republic.

Israel slammed the breakthrough deal struck between Tehran and world powers in Geneva to curb Iran’s nuclear drive saying it was a “bad deal” as Tehran had obtained “what it wanted.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said: “This is a bad agreement that gives Iran what it wanted: the partial lifting of sanctions while maintaining an essential part of its nuclear program,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Tehran does not recognize the Jewish state while Israel has warned of military action to prevent a nuclear Iran that it says would pose an existential threat.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week that arch-foe Israel is a regime “doomed to collapse.”

“The [Israeli] Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse,” Khamenei told commanders of the hardline Basij militia force in Tehran.


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