Peres at Parliament challenges world on Iran

LONDON (JTA) — Shimon Peres in an address to the British Parliament challenged the international community to cooperate to rid the world of the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Speaking Wednesday before both houses, the Israeli president said, "The Iranian leadership’s grand design is to convert the Middle East from a region of nations into one religious bloc. They attempt to impose their version on everyone. Whoever disagrees is deemed a heretic and is doomed to disappear.

"There is a need for a joint effort to stop the Iranian threat, to answer fear with hope," he said.

Peres said the United Kingdom shaped the Middle East, but "In the new reality, classic armies are no longer as relevant. Instead we see the emergence of terror, nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. They stop at no border and are not deterred by fences. These challenges have no better answer but living in peace. Good wars are only those that are avoided."

Peres also told the British lawmakers that the Arab League peace plan had merit.

On Tuesday night, pro-Palestinian activists disrupted a Peres lecture at Oxford University. About 100 protestors repeatedly shouted slogans and stomped their feet outside the hall. Inside the hall, a dozen students each declared that he represented Palestinian victims and accused Peres of war crimes. One protestor who tried to reach the podium while shouting was quickly overtaken by security and carried out of the hall by force.

Peres maintained his composure, at one point telling one of his detractors, "We have the right to stay alive. We don’t need your permission."

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