Interview With President Shimon Peres on Fox News (Excerpts)

August 31, 2009

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PRESIDENT PERES: We don't have to wait for the report of the IAEA to know about the character of Ahmadinejad. And we know that they're working very hard, they are covering, they are bluffing. You cannot rely upon them. And if they continue like this, the whole Middle East may become nuclear, and then we shall arrive at a point of no return.

Q: How long does Israel believe it will take Iran to get a nuclear weapon?

PRESIDENT PERES: The differences are a year or two years, less or more. The American estimation is three years. Israel's is shorter than that.

Q: What would you like to see Western allies do to stop Iran?

PRESIDENT PERES: Well, clearly, economic pressure. Clearly, diplomatic sanctions. And you know, there is one missing link in the effort of the West and even of the Russians, and that is to pay more attention to the missiles. Because if the Iranians say they are not going to develop a nuclear bomb - and that they will declare - what do they need missiles for of such a long range, missiles that can carry nuclear bombs?

Q: If the U.N. Security Council does - best-case scenario - move forward with some sanctions, how long can Israel wait for those sanctions to work?

PRESIDENT PERES: Well, I can't give you a date, but if they will be good enough, they will have an effect in a very short while. If they will be loose and disorganized, it will be meaningless, so it depends upon the strength of the economic sanction and the effectiveness of it.

Q: If it's not enough, is Israel prepared to act unilaterally?

PRESIDENT PERES: I think that Israel must be very careful not to create the impression that Iran is a danger only to Israel. Iran is a world danger and Israel should not monopolize this danger. Time is, on Iran's side, very short. On the other side, we must take very careful consideration before we take any other action.

Q: On a rare trip to a hill just a few hundred yards away from Israel's border with Gaza, President Peres blamed Iran for supporting Hamas controlling Gaza.

PRESIDENT PERES: Today, Hamas is totally financed, trained and ordered by Iran. And here again, without them, the Palestinians would have already a state.

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