LOS ANGELES: Israel does not need a "public debate" before taking military action against Iran, President Shimon Peres said Thursday, reiterating that all options remain on the table.
Speaking in Los Angeles, he said economic sanctions were the first course of action in pressing the Islamic republic to give up its nuclear ambitions and its threat to the Jewish state, but not the only one.
"I think we have to try first sanctions, and then we shall see," he said, noting that "in the case of South Africa, sanctions did the job," as they arguably did in Libya and Ukraine.
"If we have to choose, let's start with the non-violent ... saying very clearly (that) all other options are on the table," he told an audience in Beverly Hills.
Pressed about the threat of military strikes against Iran -- much discussed during a visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington this week -- Peres said: "I don't think that we have to make a public debate ahead of time."
In Washington last weekend Peres vowed that Israel "shall prevail" if forced to fight Iran, which he referred to as "an evil, cruel and morally corrupt regime" bent on controlling the Middle East.
"Iran's ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the world's economy. It must be stopped. And it will be stopped," the Nobel Peace Prize winner told a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group on Sunday.
The 88-year-old former Israeli prime minister and foreign minister is ending his week-long US visit on the West Coast, including stops in Silicon Valley where he launched his own Facebook page earlier this week.
On Friday he is due to visit the headquarters of Dreamworks Animation in Glendale, outside Los Angeles, while much of the rest of his schedule is private, before he heads home on Sunday.
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