Israeli President Shimon Peres praised President Barack Obama for his administration’s policy toward Iran during a Wednesday press conference, on Obama’s first day in country since taking office.
“The greatest danger is a nuclear Iran,” Peres told reporters after a meeting with Obama. “We trust your policy, which calls to, first, by non-military – to fight by non-military means with a clear statement that other options remain on the table. You made it clear that your intention is not to contain but to prevent.”
Aligning the U.S. and Israeli timelines on dealing with the nuclear threat presented by Iran remains a core agenda item on President Obama’s three-day trip, along with warming up the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, its closest ally in the Middle East. Peres’ statements Wednesday pointed to early promise on both fronts.
“You came to us with a clear message,” Peres told Obama during the press conference. “No one should let skepticism win the day. There is no other way to make the future better. There is no better leader to make it possible. Your visit is a historic step in that direction. We shall journey with you all the way.”
In return, Obama praised Peres’ “astonishing vision” and “good advice” while reaffirming U.S. support for Israel. “The state of Israel will have no greater friend than the United States,” Obama said.
This trip marks Obama’s first to Israel as president, following a much-publicized trip as a candidate in 2008.
President Obama presented Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, during a ceremony at the White House last summer.