Peres: U.S. has no choice but to save world from Ahmadinejad
President slams Iranian leader for Holocaust denial, says support of Hamas, Hezbollah thwarts peace.
The United States has no choice but to save the world by stopping Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Shimon Peres told Israel Radio on Thursday.
The president said Ahmadinejad was a passing phenomenon who will disappear "like a gust of wind," Israel Radio reported. Peres added that Ahmadinejad's statements against Israel and the West only serve to unite the entire world against Iran.
Peres on Wednesday told the United Nations General Assembly that Iran was responsible for undermining efforts for peace in the Middle East. He said that while Israel had made concessions in its desire to live in harmony with its neighbors, Iran's "quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace."
"Iranian support for Hezbollah divided Lebanon," Peres said. "Its support for Hamas split the Palestinians and postpones the establishment of the Palestinian State."
Peres also hit back at a speech by his Iranian counterpart to the same United Nations forum a day earlier, branding it "the darkest anti-Semitic libel."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was absent from Peres' speech, said in his own address Tuesday that "a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists" had seized control financial and political centers in Europe and the U.S. in "a deceitful, complex and furtive manner."
On Wednesday, Peres said that the Iranian leader's speech was reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic tract published in the early 1900s that described a Jewish and Masonic plot to take over the world.
The words of Ahmadinejad, Peres said, were "an attempt to bring to life one of the ugliest plots of history."
He also lashed out at the Iranian leader's frequent comments doubting that the genocide of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis in World War II had taken place.
"Their despicable denial of the Holocaust is a mockery of indisputable evidence, a cynical offense to survivors of the horror."
But, Peres said, Israel did not see the Iranian people themselves as an enemy. "Their fanatic leadership is their problem and the world's concern," he said.
The president also addressed the peace negotiations currently underway between Israel and the Palestinians, saying "we negotiate full peace. Both parties agreed to building a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, living in peace, security and respect."
"We tried to conclude the negotiations this year. It will take longer. But, I believe it can be accomplished within the next year," he went on to say, adding that "gaps have been narrowed through negotiations. Particularly the territorial ones. But, peace is not just a matter of territorial compromise. Rogue politics reject peace even where the territorial dispute was resolved."
"From Gaza, we withdrew completely and dismantled our settlements. Hamas responded with a bloody takeover and turned the strip into a base of rocket fire," he added.
Peres also addressed the issue of the abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, who was seized by Gaza militants in June 2006, urging the General Assembly to "make his release top of its agenda. Holding a hostage in Gaza determines its isolation and further deterioration."