Sunday, March 09, 2008

Israel President Says Iran Is Greatest Problem In The World

JERUSALEM (AP)--President Shimon Peres on Sunday called Iran the world's "greatest problem" but said Israel would not act on its own against the nation's nuclear program.

"Iran is a danger not just for Israel but for the rest of the world, the combination of being a center of terror and developing a nuclear option is the most dangerous you can think of," he said at his official residence, a day ahead of an official visit France.

Last week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel has the "might and power" to defend itself against any threat from Iran, indicating a willingness to use military force if necessary against Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran has defiantly vowed to continue its nuclear program, despite new U.N. sanctions imposed last week for Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

Israel has always said it favored a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, and did not see itself taking the lead against Iran. Tehran insists its program is peaceful.

Still, Israel considers Iran a serious threat because it has an arsenal of long-range missiles that can be fitted with nuclear warheads and are capable of striking the Jewish state.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel to be " wiped off the map," and Iran provides support to extremist anti-Israel groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian areas.

Peres on Sunday said an active Iranian nuclear reactor would "make the world ungovernable." But he added that the problem was not Israel's alone.

"Israel will not be forced (to act). Israel will do whatever she should do, but Israel doesn't claim that she is the leader of the world," he said.



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