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Shimon Peres says Israel Open to Peace with Palestinians

Israeli President Shimon Peres says his country remains open to peace with the Palestinians and other Arabs.

Mr. Peres spoke Monday in an interview with CNN and in a speech to the annual convention of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, the chief pro-Israeli lobby in Washington.

The Israeli president sought to reassure his listeners that new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace with the Palestinians. But Mr. Peres did not mention proposals for creating a Palestinian state.

Palestinian statehood has been the centerpiece of U.S. mediation efforts in the Middle East for most of the past decade.

Mr. Peres is to meet Tuesday with President Barack Obama.

In his speech to AIPAC, Mr. Peres also said Iran's nuclear activities threaten the United States, Europe and Arab nations, as well as Israel.

He said the Iranian government also has invested heavily in long-range missile development even though, he said, Iran is not threatened by any enemies.

Last month, Mr. Peres indicated Israel would be willing to launch military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites if international efforts to stop its disputed nuclear activities fail. He later retracted those comments, saying there is no military solution.

Iran says its nuclear program is only for civilian use and that it has a right to develop such technology. The United Nations, prompted by the concerns of the U.S., European nations and others, has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran because of the program.