Peres: ‘I Will Ask Obama, Man To Man, For Pollard’s Release’


peresA nuclear Iran is a danger to the world and U.S. President Barack Obama will not hesitate to stop the Iranians just like he did not hesitate in the war on terror, President Shimon Peres told Israel Hayom in a special interview which will be published in full on Friday.

Speaking from New York, where he arrived earlier this week for a special ceremony in which Obama will honor him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Peres said, “A nuclear Iran is a danger to the world, and dealing with it is important not only for Israel. President Obama will not hesitate to protect America, just like he did not hesitate to take controversial steps in the war on terror. Why shouldn’t I believe him? Obama is not doing us any favors. We have exactly the same interests.”

Peres stressed that the U.S. “simply cannot allow for a nuclear Iran. Pressure on Iran is not a transient issue, but a very fundamental one. America has been trying, logically, to see if the world can prevent the Iranian nuclear program through economic sanctions. President Obama also said, ‘All the other options are on the table,’ and I think this is a reasonable policy.”

The Israeli president also spoke of his special relationship with the U.S. president, saying that he had taken notice of Obama’s talent years ago.

“When he was elected to the Senate, he piqued my interest. I asked to meet with him and I was very impressed,” recalled Peres.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. president on a civilian.

Peres insisted that even though he has won several honors around the world, this award was the most meaningful for him. “This award is an extraordinary thing for American-Israeli relations,” Peres said. “While the U.S. is extremely busy with several of its own problems, it chose [to give the award to someone from] Israel out of 200 countries. I see this award as an honor for the entire country.”

On Monday, the president traveled from New York to Washington as part of his busy trip in the U.S.

In the afternoon, Peres was given a special tour of the Pentagon and met with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. The three leaders discussed ways to strengthen the strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S., and also talked about a series of security issues on the agenda.

“They consulted on the many areas of cooperation and the common challenges faced by the United States and Israel in the Middle East, including the ongoing violence in Syria, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Middle East Peace Process, and U.S. commitment to preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge,” a U.S. Defense Department statement said. “Secretary Panetta also congratulated President Peres on being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week.”

On Tuesday, the president was expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and on Wednesday, shortly before the award ceremony, Peres will meet with Obama.

In addition to the many political and security issues the two are expected to discuss, Peres plans to again raise the issue of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s release. As of Tuesday, Pollard has spent 9,700 days in prison in the United States. Upon his arrival at the Blair House, the presidential guest house, in Washington on Monday night, Peres said that he will personally appeal to Obama regarding Pollard’s release.

“Speaking man to man, I would like to ask Obama to release Pollard based on humanitarian grounds.”

The president added, “I am aware of all the problems associated with pardoning [Pollard]. This is not a continuation of legal proceedings, there are other considerations beyond this and I will explain this to the president.”

{Israel Hayom/ Newscenter}


  1. Now would be a good time as Romney is perceived as being a formidable contender. If Obama can use this for his own gain, he will, iy”H release Jonathan Pollard.