Washington, D.C., August 27, 2008 - Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN) conducted a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem over the weekend in which he expressed his feelings toward the Iranian people and his views on Israeli-Iranian relations.
Peres took advantage of the opportunity to address Iranian youth directly during the interview. "My message to Iranian youth," he said, "is that we don't hate you, we don't even want to touch you, let alone attack you." Peres expressed optimism about the long-term future of Israeli-Iranian relations. "We don't have anything against the people of Iran," he stated. "We have had good relations with Iran before the revolution, and we will have excellent relations in the future."
The Israeli president also dismissed reports of a possible strike against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program asserting, "Israel has no plans to attack Iran's nuclear sites."
At the same time, Peres directed strong criticism toward the Iranian government, describing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the most dangerous man of the 21st century. He also called Iran the biggest threat to Israel's security and emphasized that Iran should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapons program. "The Iranian government...ought not have access to nuclear weaponry, since their access will mean an unstable region and unsafe world."
The interview, conducted by international correspondent Katayoun Beglari-Scarlet, has been broadcast in its entirety on PNN. VOA's PNN has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website, www.VOAPNN.com.
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