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  Nobel Laureates Plus



Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, shares a Nobel Peace Prize with the late Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

By Shimon Peres

JERUSALEM -- The founder of Hassidic Judaism, and a profound thinker, the Ba'al Shem Tov, once said, “Fear builds walls to cover the light.”

Peace-loving and democratic nations of the world must not allow fear, which the current leadership of Iran tries to sow in their hearts, to cover the light of reasonable thought and analysis, or to dissuade them from their paths of freedom.

The current Iranian regime has clearly and repeatedly threatened to stand against modernity, democracy and those nations that embrace the values of pluralism.

By repeatedly testing its long-range missiles and demonstrating their capacity, the Iranian regime sends a clear and undisputed message: It has the capability, via use of its most recently tested missile, the Shihab-4, to attack any nation within a range of up to 4,000 km. from Iran. European states, as well as Russia, which fall within this range, are in fact potential targets.

Such capabilities most certainly raise a question mark vis-à-vis the official Iranian claim that the nuclear capability that it strives to achieve is only for civil purposes. What, then, would be the use of such long-range missiles, if Iran is only enriching plutonium for civil purposes? Furthermore, why does an energy-rich country, such as Iran, seek to further diversify its energy sources?

Over and above Iran’s military capabilities, one cannot ignore the continuous declarations made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, voicing his antagonism toward the West. Can we continue to allow such blunt and relentless calls for the destruction of others without answering? Have we not learned the lessons of the past?

One of the most dangerous outcomes of a nuclear Iran is the potential proliferation of fissile material to non-governmental entities and to terrorist cells. Such a catastrophic scenario is one with which the international community and its institutions would have difficulty coping. Imagine, for instance, if God forbid, the tragic terrorist attack of Sept. 11 would have been carried out with a nuclear bomb?

The solution must lie in a reasonable, yet decisive, concerted and coordinated effort by the entire international community to implement significant economic sanctions on Iran. Libya, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa — and now North Korea — are only a few examples that demonstrate the relative degree of success that can be brought about by dialogue or the use of comprehensive economic sanctions coupled with dialogue. Clearly, a half-hearted and non-comprehensive attempt will not be sufficient in the case of Iran.