WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres urged the Iranian people to repudiate its radical leadership.
"On the eve of the new year, I appeal to the noble Iranian people on behalf of the ancient Jewish people and urge them to reclaim their worthy place among the nations of the enlightened world," Peres said in a message broadcast on Israel’s Persian language service to mark Nowruz, the Iranian New Year festival that falls on Friday this year. "Unfortunately, these days, the relations between our countries are at a low that stems from the impulses leading the current leaders of your country to act against the State of Israel and its people in any way possible."
According to a report on Ynet, Yediot Achronot’s news Web site, Peres decried an Iranian leadership that he said favors nuclear bombs over butter.
"Children can’t be fed enriched uranium for breakfast, they need a real breakfast, and you can’t invest the money in enriched uranium while telling the kids to stay a little hungry and a little ignorant," Peres said.
He added: "I see the suffering of the children and I ask myself, why? This is a country that is so rich with such a rich culture, why do they let a few religious fanatics take the worst path in the eyes of God and in the eyes of man?"
U.S. President Barack Obama also delivered a Nowruz message, in a video posted on the White House Web site, urging the leadership to assume its place among responsible nations, and abandon terrorism and nuclear weapons.