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Israeli President Shimon Peres called Iran a central obstacle to peace in the Middle East. In his speech Wednesday to the United Nations, Peres called Iran a center of fanaticism and accused it of supporting the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state and developing a nuclear capacity. “Tehran combines long-range missiles and short-range minds,” Peres said. “It is pregnant with tragedies. The General Assembly and the Security Council bear responsibility to prevent agonies before they take place.” Peres’ speech came a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking from the same podium, called Zionists “murderers” who manipulate global finance and politics to serve their “acquisitive” interests. Peres urged Syria to engage in face-to-face peace talks and to follow the example set by Egypt and Jordan, both of which have concluded peace agreements with the Jewish state. He further predicted that peace with the Palestinians would be achieved within the coming year.

Concluding his remarks, Peres donned a kipah and recited a prayer for peace in Hebrew and English.

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