Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Monday that arch-foe Iran’s bid to allay Western fears over its nuclear programme should be judged “by deeds” rather than a mere charm offensive.
Peres was speaking in The Hague during a three-day official trip to the Netherlands, ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.
“We can judge only by the facts and by the deeds,” Peres told reporters at the Peace Palace, the seat of the UN’s highest legal body, the International Court of Justice.
“I hope that the facts will justify the hopes of many to see a different Iran,” Peres said.
Netanyahu is due to meet US President Barack Obama later Monday to tell him that Iran’s nuclear programme must be dismantled and not merely supervised, Israeli media reported.
He is also expected to tell Obama that Israel will abandon the diplomatic path on Iran’s nuclear programme if it is not completely dismantled, according to the diplomatic correspondent of Israel’s Channel One television network.
The implication was that Israel may be willing to take unilateral military action against Iran, the reporter said.
The reporter cited sources close to Netanyahu, who headed to New York Sunday vowing to counter the “sweet talk” of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has said he wants to resolve the decade-long nuclear stand-off.
Both Israel and the United States have refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear drive, which they say is aimed at developing atomic weapons, charges adamantly denied by Tehran.
Rouhani’s expressed desire for a rapprochement with Washington, and his historic phone call with Obama last week, have raised concerns in Israel that such gestures could blunt international efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Peres pointed out contradictions in Iran building long-range missiles, saying “they don’t have any explanation but to put nuclear (war)heads” on them.
After meeting Obama, Netanyahu is due to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Israel, the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power, remains adamant that Iran is bent on developing a weapons capability under the cover of its civilian nuclear programme, something it regards as a threat to its existence.