Peres Warns IAEA Chief of Iran Nuclear Threat

'It is impossible to separate Iran's nuclear plans from the nature of its regime,' president tells Yukiya Amano in Jerusalem.

President Shimon Peres on Wednesday warned to the chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog on the threat from a nuclear Iran, calling on the world to acknowledge the danger it posed to Israel's security.

"Iran jeopardizes Israel and the rest of the world, as it threatens to use nuclear weapons," said Peres told Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Jerusalem.

 Peres and Yukiya Amano, Mark Naiman, Aug. 25, 2010
Mark Naiman

Peres and Amano met for the second time since Amano took office earlier this year to discuss regional developments and international supervision over Iran nuclear program.

"It is impossible to separate Iran's nuclear plans from the nature of its regime," said Peres.

Israel and West accuse Iran using a civilian atomic power scheme to mask designs on a bomb – a charge it denies.

"[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel and has denied the holocaust," Peres said. "The international community and the IAEA must take these unprecedented statements as seriously as possible."

He added: "In the last 62 years we have been attacked seven times, and Israel is unique in that sense. The world cannot be blind to the fact that Israel is a state under constant threat."

"Since you began office, we feel you have been professional, objective and fair," the president told Amano. "This position requires a man trusted by all parties, one who can tell right from wrong. Israel feels a profound change in the IAEA. This is a new experience for us."

Amano, who was snubbed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who canceled a planned meeting to take time out before next week's peace talks in Washington, praised Israel for its medical advances.

"I arrived on Monday. We had a very tight schedule, which included meeting Minister Ya'alon, a visit to the nuclear research center in Soreq, and a helicopter tour. I was impressed by the department of nuclear medicine in Hadassah medical center in Jerusalem. It is a good example of use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," said Amano.

Israel is also widely believed to have an arsenal of around 200 nuclear warheads – but as the country has not signed the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, the IAEA has no inspection rights in the country and has not been allowed access to Israel's main nuclear installation at Dimona..

Despite this, IAEA specialists have made several visits to Soreq, a small nuclear research plant.