WASHINGTON - In Tuesday afternoon's White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, President Shimon Peres said Israel backed America's diplomatic track with Iran, yet the comparison with the Nazi regime should not be ignored.
"Iran is a threat not just to Israel, but to the whole world," Peres said. "After being subjected to the Holocaust, we cannot close our eyes in light of the grave danger emerging from Iran," he said.
"If Europe had dealt seriously with Hitler at that time, the terrible Holocaust and the loss of millions of people could have been avoided. We can't help but make the comparison," Peres said.
While rejecting the linkage of the Palestinian and Iranian issues, Peres said Israel supported U.S. efforts, without imposing a timetable.
"Israel doesn't give the U.S. an ultimatum," Peres said. "We should be loyal supporters…If it [diplomacy] will succeed, it can be the best thing," he told reporters after the meeting.
"I told [Obama] that a great change has begun because today most of the Sunni world does not see the problem as Israel, but Iran," Peres said.
Prior to the presidents' 15-minute private meeting, they met with outgoing Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor, General James Jones and several other senior U.S. officials.
Obama assured Peres that Israel's security will always be a top priority for the U.S.
Earlier Tuesday, Peres met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry.
Peres also met with Vice President Joe Biden, who earlier told participants of the AIPAC (American Israel Policy Action Committee) conference that Israel must halt settlement expansion.
In response to Biden's remarks, Peres told the vice president that cutting off natural growth is a non-starter.
"Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married," Peres said.