Iran is an existential danger to world peace and everything must be done to form a united front of the international community against it.

Address by PM Olmert to the TAU INSS Annual Conference (18 Dec 2008):

A number of days ago, President-elect Barack Obama gave a television interview in which he said that every effort must be made in order to prevent Iran from developing a military nuclear capability. The acquisition of such an ability, President Elect Obama said, is “unacceptable”, as is Tehran’s support for terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah and Hamas and their threats to destroy Israel.

We view the President-elect’s strategic stance as identical to the goals Israel has set for itself, and we can only wait and see how we can promote them in cooperation with the United States, the international community and, if need be, also through independent means.

The Ayatollan regime, headed by an anti-Semitic and Holocaust denying president, aspires to regional hegemony, and to a strong regional position. Its support of terror, its striving to achieve nuclear weapons, its development of long-range missiles, its resistance to all peace initiatives and its fanning of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of regional stability with the flame of religious fanaticism – all these are tools to achieve the megalomaniacal objective of this dark regime.

Let me be clear: there is no real reason for conflict between the State of Israel and Iran, or between the people of Israel and the people of Iran.  We do not share a border and there are no significant conflicts of interests between our peoples. In the past, our countries have had years of friendly relations and cooperation, and I pray that they will return under a different regime. The Khomeini regime in Tehran decided to turn Israel into a target for profound hatred, threats of destruction and casting doubt on the question of its continued existence. This is a failed regime which has chosen the path of hatred and sowing fear among its own people in order to try and unite the sectors of the divided Iranian nation.

To this point, there has been no sign of willingness on the part of the Iranian regime to retreat from its dangerous pretentions which threaten the stability of the Middle East and of the entire world. Thus far, the Iranian president has recognized fissures of weakness in the international front he faces, has expanded them and feels that he can continue on his path and in a short while place before the entire world a fait accompli.

I will emphasize at the outset that Israel has the ability to defend itself, but the Iranian threat does not just concern Israel, but rather the entire free world and the moderate countries in the Middle East. Significant and important actions are being taken vis-a-vis Iran on a number of levels, including the diplomatic and economic-financial levels. The global economic crisis and the decrease in the price of oil have additional potential to exert considerable pressure on Iran.

Despite all the important actions that have been taken, the international community must not remove any option from the table as long as the goal of preventing Iran from becoming a country with nuclear capability has not been achieved. Israel cannot accept such a reality.

An additional and dangerous concrete threat, one growing more serious, is the existence of an axis stretching from Tehran through Damascus to the Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

If we remove the issue of a nuclear Iran from the equation, the most serious problem originates in the threat of missiles fired at Israel and its civilian home front. An arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles is in the hands of the Syrians and the Hizbullah, and there is a considerable store of curved trajectory weapons in the Gaza Strip. The entirety of this tremendous missiles store is aimed at the State of Israel’s civilian home front.  In the past several months, we have seen significant progress in the preparedness of the Israeli home front for scenarios of missile and rocket attacks on the home front. However, we do not have any indication of the likelihood of such an attack in the near future.


President Peres meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer (15 Dec 2008):

President Shimon Peres said that Iran was deceiving the entire world and that it is developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of tremendous destruction and not for civilian needs as they claim. He said that Iran is an existential danger to world peace and everything must be done to form a united front of the international community against it. President Fischer said that he understands well the all-encompassing nature of the Iranian danger to the world and that in the recent period great efforts have been made to strengthen a series of initiatives of the European Union against Iran. President Fischer added that he believes that soon a strong, unified, clear voice will be heard, expressing Europe’s opinion on important issues including of the struggle against Iran, the advancement of peace in the Middle East and a solution to the global economic crisis. "I understand that all of us are concerned regarding Iran, and we all must fight together with the entire international community, including the Security Council of the United Nations and the European Union, in order that Iran will not succeed in producing a nuclear bomb."

Eulogy by President Shimon Peres at burial ceremony for victims of terror attack at Chabad House in Mumbai, India (2 Dec 2008):

We need to tear out terror at the root without hesitation and without equivocation. I don’t understand how it is possible to accept a state like Iran, which constitutes a nest and a hotbed for terror and which calls for the destruction of Israel, as a member of the international community and of the United Nations. If the whole world cannot stand up to one man with a strong, meaningful stance, and if the world will not fight with a war of boycotts against all places in which there is money that is financing terror, then the peace and quiet of the world will be in danger. Terror represents an epidemic that we must stop and we must eradicate.