Iran a ‘Danger to World,’ Peres Says on Holocaust Day

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Iran poses a global threat and must be confronted, warning in a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day that tragedy can result from “procrastination in taking action.”

Addressing the German parliament in Berlin today at the culmination of a three-day visit, Peres spoke of the need to strive for peace after the “world’s inattention” during the World War II Nazi Holocaust of 6 million Jews, his grandfather among them.

“Like our neighbors, we identify with the millions of Iranians who revolt against dictatorship and violence,” Peres said, according to the English text of his speech delivered in Hebrew. “Like them we reject a fanatic regime, which contradicts the United Nations Charter. A regime which threatens destruction, accompanied by nuclear plants and missiles and which activates terror in its country and other countries.”

Peres yesterday called for measures against the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, telling a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel that economic sanctions are “the best bet for the time being” to force Iran to halt its nuclear program. Merkel said she expects the UN Security Council to deliberate more sanctions against Iran next month.

“This regime is a danger to the entire world,” Peres said of Iran today in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, according to an advance copy of the speech e-mailed by his office in Jerusalem. The Holocaust must “serve as an unequivocal warning in perpetuity.”

‘Bring Them to Justice’

Peres also urged the authorities to pursue those who “took part in the most odious activity on earth – that of genocide,” still living in Germany, across Europe and throughout the world.

“Please do everything to bring them to justice,” he said. “This is not revenge in our eyes. This is an educational lesson.”

Peres praised Germany for the help provided in the early days of the Israeli state. Compensation payments that bolstered Israel’s economic recovery and defense equipment helped ensure its security, forging “unique ties” between the countries, he said.

“Never again ignore blood-thirsty dictators, hiding behind demagogical masks, who utter murderous slogans,” Peres said. “The threats to annihilate a people and a nation are voiced in the shadow in weapons of mass destruction, which are held by irresponsible hands, by irrational thinking and in an untruthful language.”