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Peres on Iran: When we say all options are on the table, we mean it (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By RAPHAEL AHREN 02/23/12)Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com/peres-on-iran-when-we-say-all-options-are-on-the-table-we-mean-it/ TIMES OF ISRAEL TIMES OF ISRAEL Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
US Ambassador Shapiro adds: And those options ‘are actually available’ if they become necessary

President Shimon Peres refuted a report Thursday that he plans to tell US President Barack Obama, during his upcoming visit to Washington, that he opposes an Israeli attack on Iran. On the contrary, Peres said, Israel “has the right to defend itself,” an Iranian bomb would be “a catastrophe” and when Israel says “all options are on the table, we really mean it.”

“I wake up this morning to read in one of the papers a huge headline [about] what I’m going to say to the president of the United States, Obama,” Peres said Thursday night in a speech to US-Jewish leaders. “I think that’s very nice on the part of the paper. I imagine that they probably wanted to suggest something for me, for my agenda. It’s their imagination.

“As far as I’m concerned, I never told anybody in my life before a meeting with such a leader what I am going to tell him,” he said.

Thursday’s edition of Haaretz quoted “political and diplomatic officials who are familiar with Peres’s positions and are helping prepare for the Obama meeting” as saying that he is against the “unceasing self-intimidation” expressed by senior Israeli officials, and intends to tell Obama that he opposes a military strike.

Speaking at the closing session of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ annual leadership mission in Jerusalem, Peres addressed the Iran nuclear threat briefly but succinctly.

“The state of Israel is an independent, sovereign state, and has the right to defend itself. When we say all options are on the table, we really mean it,” he said.

“Imagine if Iran were to win (the race to the bomb). No country could prevent it from freely exporting terror, or stop it dominating the world’s economy. Iran with a nuclear bomb is a catastrophe,” said Peres.

After Peres, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro took the podium and addressed the nearly 100 delegates, representing 50 organizations. He asserted that despite media reports and public statements by officials suggesting a growing rift between Washington and Jerusalem, the two governments were on the same page regarding the Iranian threat.

“Whatever one reads in the newspapers, I cannot think of any issue on which we are better coordinating than the issue of Iran,” Shapiro said, adding that numerous senior defense and military officials had consulted with their Israeli counterparts during the last few weeks. Such close cooperation demonstrated unity in strategy and resolve on a plan of action, he suggested.

“There is no other country in the world, there is no other relationship in world, where the senior leaders would invest that kind of time to make sure we have total coordination of our policy. And we do,” Shapiro said. “We’re in total coordination and agreement on the nature of this threat and the dangers of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Crippling economic sanctions against Tehran are the “preferred strategy” of both Israel and the US to prevent that from happening, he added. “While our strategy is clear, for now, all other options are on the table, and more than that, the necessary planning has been done to ensure those options are actually available if at any time they become necessary.” (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 02/23/12)

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