Israeli President Shimon Peres said the most important parts of Iranian President Hassan Rowhani’s address during the World Economic Forum in Davos Thursday were the ones he didn’t say.
Rowhani claimed the spotlight at the annual World Economic Forum as the event coincided with the lifting of some international sanctions on Iran and the country’s exclusion from Syrian peace talks being held just a few hours’ drive away.
“I see the status of Iran pursuing policies of moderation, prudence and hope in the future global economy,” Rowhani said. “Iran’s economy has the potential to be among the world’s top 10 in the next three decades.”
An hour later, the Israeli president held a press conference at a hotel in Davos saying the most important parts of Rowhani’s speech were things he did not say.
“The most significant remarks were the ones he didn’t make. He is the only leader I know who didn’t say clearly the time has come to make peace between Israel and the Arabs,” Peres said.
“He excluded the reference to peace and when he was asked if his vision included all countries he said it included only the ones that Iran will accept,” Peres said.
“That is some definition,” Peres added.
Rowhani said in his speech that he would pursue “constructive engagement with the world.”
When WEF founder Klaus Schwab asked if Rowhani meant “the whole world,” the Iranian leader gave a more specific answer by saying: “The Islamic republic of Iran will reach out to all countries of the world that it has officially recognized.”
It is widely-known that Iranian presidents have repeatedly announced that their country’s official position is that it doesn’t recognize Israel as a state.
Peres described Rowhani’s speech as “half a job and the most important half wasn’t done,” saying “peace is peace for all, without exclusion.”
Peres said that Iran had missed a great opportunity for peace with Israel in Davos, especially that Rowhani “didn’t announce that Iran will stop being the center of terror in our time.”
Not to be outshined, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni also attended the weeklong gathering in Davos.
Netanyahu didn’t mince words, telling the forum in a speech that Iran is a concern for many Arab governments, just as it is for Israel.
“They say they oppose nuclear weapons. Why do they insist on maintaining the ballistic missiles and the plutonium, and the advanced centrifuges that are only used for the production of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
“I wish it was real. It isn’t real,” he said.
Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of the U.S.-led efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program, saying they don’t go far enough to put the brakes on a country that supports Hezbollah, the militant group that has been vying with Israel for control of the region’s power balance.
The Israeli leader also blamed Iran for being involved in the violence in Syria.
“Iran, with the Revolutionary Guards, on the ground in Syria, is facilitating the mass slaughter,” Netanyahu said, referring to Iran’s elite military unit.
[With AP]SHOW MORE