President Shimon Peres reached out to the Iranian people on Monday, wishing them a happy new year with a video message calling for them to “change their corrupt regime.”
Speaking in Persian on Israel Radio’s Persian-language station, Peres conveyed wishes of peace for the Iranian new year holiday of Nowruz, which is celebrated on Wednesday.
Reverting to Hebrew, he said, “It’s not too late to change the corrupt regime and return to your glorious Persian heritage of culture and values, rather than bombs and rockets.”
“Sometimes I wonder,” the president continued, “how such a civilized people could allow such an extreme, blind, and hateful group [of leaders] to shame its historical heritage. I wonder how the nation allows the regime to sow fear, to deny its people freedom, to rock the young generation…”
Peres said that Tehran was investing all its money in its nuclear program at the price of letting children starve, adding, “Enriched uranium can’t feed hungry Iranians.”
Iran is controlled by a small group of extremists, he said, and it was time for the people to regain control over their lives. Now was the time for freedom, he said. Just like young Arabs were ousting the old regimes, it was time for Iranians to get rid of theirs.
“Have a good holiday,” he ended. “Look back proudly, look ahead wisely.”