JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli President Shimon Peres said Sunday he opposes a military strike on Iran and prefers the use of international economic sanctions to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear enrichment programme.
“A military operation is not necessary. I do not think the Americans think in these terms because they have many other cards to play,” Peres told Israeli public radio after a meeting with US Vice President Dick Cheney in Italy.
“If the Americans manage to form a coalition to unify their positions with those of Europeans, they have sufficient means to exert pressure on the Iranians,” Peres added.
Peres had met Cheney on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti forum on Italy’s Lake Como, an international gathering of leaders and experts focused mostly on economic issues.
Israel and the West have repeatedly called on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme, which they fear is aimed at developing nuclear weapons but which Tehran defends as part of a peaceful energy venture.
Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state, has considered Iran its main strategic threat after repeated predictions of its demise by senior Iranian leaders.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said last month after a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel would not rule out any options to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran meanwhile risks a possible fourth round of UN sanctions after it failed to give a clear response to an incentives package offered by six major world powers in return for halting uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but also the core of an atomic bomb.