President Shimon Peres expressed hope on Tuesday that new voices of moderation will emerge in Iran, but called on the European Union to remain vigilant in the face of Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
“Europe’s support is important to preventing the Iranian threat,” Peres said during a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the third day of a diplomatic visit to the Netherlands.
“I hope that the new voices will bring a new reality in Iran — but nuclear weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the entire world and we must work to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons,” Peres added.
Israeli officials have expressed concern over an overly conciliatory spirit emanating from Iran toward the West and particularly the United States since the election of President Hasan Rouhani in June.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbed Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly last week “cynical and full of hypocrisy.” On Monday night in Washington, Netanyahu urged members of the US Senate to maintain economic pressure on Iran as long as it continues to develop its nuclear program.
On Monday, Peres called Rouhani’s UN speech “impressive,” but said it did not reflect what was actually happening in Iran. The Islamic Republic could only be judged based on its actions, not the statements of its leaders, Peres added.