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Israel's President Supports Iran Protesters


Israel is weighing in on the Iran crisis. While one elder statesman has come out in support of the reformists, other Israelis are taking a more cautious approach.

Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed support for anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

"Let the young people raise their voice for freedom, for a positive policy," said Mr. Peres. "Let the Iranian women, who are a very courageous group of people, voice their thirst for equality, for freedom."

Peres, whose office is ceremonial, said he hopes the demonstrations will bring down the Islamist Iranian regime, which Israel believes is seeking nuclear weapons.

"And I really don't know what will disappear first, their enriched uranium or their poor government," he said. "Hopefully the poor government will disappear."

Other Israel
"Unfortunately, at the moment, building nuclear weapons is a given," said Israeli analyst Dan Schueftan, who says Mousavi might have more success in convincing the West that Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. On the other hand, he says, the world understands the threat posed by incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that serves Israel's interests.

"Everything evil and repulsive about the Iranian regime is reflected in the personality of Ahmadinejad, so in that context he's better for Israel," he added.

Many Israeli observers believe that with the current leadership in power in Iran, Israel can make a stronger case for economic sanctions and possibly military action against Iran.


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