Peres Praises Iran Sanctions Effort

March 9, 2012  

President Shimon Peres on Thursday tried to dispel perceived differences between Israel and the United States on how to deal with Iran.

“While everybody is looking for differences, the basis is common and agreed,” Peres said during a speech in Los Angeles.

Peres praised Western sanctions on Iran aimed at pressuring the Islamic Republic to abandon its push for nuclear weapons.

“If we have to choose, let’s start with the nonviolent, [with] no war beginning, but saying very clearly that all other options are on the table,” he said.

His comments came on the same day that Iran’s Supreme Leader praised US president Barack Obama for backing away from the military option.

“Two days ago, we heard the president of America say: ‘We are not thinking of war with Iran,’” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. 

“This is good. Very good. These are wise words. This is an exit from illusion,” Khamenei added.

However, Khamenei also criticized Obama for “still harboring illusions” that sanctions would force Iran to give up uranium enrichment, a key demand of world powers.

Khamenei’s comments were broadly taken as a clear indication that Iranian leaders do not consider talk of a potential military strike by US officials credible.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted his patience with Obama’s sanctions-only approach is wearing thin.

 “I will be happy if the sanctions work – all the better. But we cannot know, and we will not accept a situation in which Iran has nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said Thursday.

He added that the timing of such a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear program “is not a matter of days or weeks,” but on the other hand, “it is not a matter of years.”

Analysts say it could be years before Obama’s sanctions begin to yield fruit, and note that a sanctions-devastated economy did not stop North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Iran – If it decides to make a proliferation sprint – could enrich enough weapons grade uranium for a 15 kiloton bomb in 2.5 to 3 months.


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