Peres: Obama Brings Hope of Iran Talks

Israeli President Shimon Peres says he believes President-elect Barack Obama may be able to unite the international community and force Iran to the negotiating table. However he also indicated that any talks with Iran would have to be predicated on them meeting several conditions, essentially all the terms which would have been discussed at the hypothetical talks.

In the interview, he demands “they have to stop trying to control the Middle East, through supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas; the second to stop terror, to be the centre of terror, the financing of terror and so on; and third stop the combination of nuclear warheads missiles and threats.”

Iran would likely struggle most to meet the third requirement. Israeli officials continue to declare their conviction that Iran is hell bent on the acquisition of atomic weapons, but with myriad investigations, no evidence, and even reports to the contrary it seems there would be little Iran could even theoretically do to convince them they have abandoned a program they insist they don’t have to begin with. The IAEA has repeatedly certified that Iran has not diverted any of its civilian nuclear material for use in any weapons program, IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei says they don’t even have enough material if they wanted to and the US National Intelligence Estimate says Iran halted all nuclear weapons programs long ago.

During his primary campaign, President-elect Obama spoke regularly of the need for direct talks with Iran. Shortly after his election he received a congratulatory letter from Iranian President Ahmadinejad, which he followed up by hitting out publicly at Iran, Though improved good will may allow Obama to unite the west in a single policy toward Iran, early indications are that the Iranians don’t expect the new administrations to bring about major changes in the direction of that policy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.