Peres: Mideast Peace Can Help U.S. Battle Iran Threat

Speaking in front of worldwide Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, President says U.S. should allow Arab states to choose for themselves whether or not they want to be democratic.

Israel could aid the United States in its attempts to thwart Iran's nuclear program by pushing forward with peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, President Shimon Peres said Thursday, adding that he believed the Islamic Republic posed the greatest threat to both Israel and the United States.

Peres at UN - AP - Sept 20, 2010

Speaking at a meeting of worldwide Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Peres said that while "Israel cannot give America what it gives us, we, in our small way, can help the U.S. by putting an end to the minor conflict with the Palestinians and allowing it to focus on the main threat – Iran."

However, in a more critical note, Army Radio also quoted the president as expressing his disapproval of American attempts to establish democracies in Arab states such as Iraq, saying that the question was 'where is the Muslim world heading?'"

"I appreciate [former U.S. president George] Bush's attempt to expose them to democracy, but is that possible?," Peres asked, adding that it was "very difficult to come to a king and tell him to go to elections."

"It would be like inviting a turkey to a Thanksgiving feast," the president said, adding he believed "Muslims should be able to choose their own path."

Last month, Minister of Minority Affairs Professor Avishay Braverman said that the then relaunched peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians posed "a strategic threat to Iran."

Speaking at the Shabbat Tarbut event in Haifa, the minister said that "the cancellation of a visit by the Iranian foreign minister to Egypt and the historical events that have occurred in Tehran since the start of peace talks are proof that progress in the talks will lead to an alliance between Israel and the moderate Arab states versus the axis of evil of Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah."