Israel’s President Shimon Peres denounced Iran in a meeting with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and military officials yesterday, warning against its “imperialistic ambitions based on religion.” Peres told Panetta, “No responsible country in the world can accept the situation in which the Middle East falls victim to Iranian hegemony.” While stressing that he respects the diplomatic process on the Iranian nuclear issue, Peres added that “time is running out, as Iran continues its accelerated race toward a nuclear bomb, continuing to lie and deceive.”
Peres is on a multi-day visit to the US in which he is scheduled to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama tomorrow. For his part, Panetta congratulated Peres on his Medal of Freedom. He awarded him with the Pentagon’s Medal of Honour and noted that, “the cooperation between the two militaries is stronger than ever.”
In unrelated news yesterday, European Union officials said that Iran has agreed to discuss a proposal from six world powers to curb its production of high-grade uranium at a meeting in Moscow next week. ”The Iranians agreed on the need for Iran to engage on the (six powers’) proposals, which address its concerns on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme,” a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.