JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres said he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“Why not? I don’t have enemies; it’s not a matter of a person but of a policy,” Peres said Sunday in Tel Aviv at the Globes Business Conference during an on-stage interview with CNN’s Richard Quest. “The purpose is to convert enemies into friends.”
Peres said Israel and the world powers have to “concentrate all our efforts to make sure Iran doesn’t become a nuclear danger to the rest of the world.”
“President Obama constructed a coalition and he can’t go alone,” he said.
Peres said there is no question that the world prefers a diplomatic solution.
He added: “All options remain on the table to give weight to the words. The ones who are meant to listen must realize they could face a far more complicated situation. No one wants Iran to have a nuclear bomb, no one wants to have an Iranian danger hanging over our skies.”
Peres said that Israelis and the Palestinians could learn from the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“If there was something that seemed impossible it was solving apartheid, but it happened and it was far quicker than we thought,” he said.
Speaking on the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Peres said, “There are two major problems. Israel’s security after our experience when we left Gaza which made many Israelis reluctant to do likewise in the West Bank. On the other hand is the problem of our existence as a Jewish state, a state where the Jewish people are a majority. It’s not a matter of declarations; it’s a matter of numbers.”