President Shimon Peres, who is currently completing a visit to Mexico, took a few minutes out to give an exclusive interview to Israel Hayom from his hotel room in Guadalajara.
In the interview, Peres said he does not intend to return to political life after completing his term as president. He also said that it is incumbent upon U.S. President Barack Obama to uphold his obligation to exercise the military option against Tehran should the Iranians fail to uphold their agreement or should the diplomatic effort fail.
During the visit, Peres bolstered Israel's ties with the Mexican government on many issues. "They idolize Israel because it is not a normal country," Peres said. "An economic revival is happening in Mexico. We came at a time that was fitting for Latin America and Israel, we met with CEOs who are a real economic force."
The president even met with the heads of security forces in the country. A spokesperson for the President's Residence said that there are advanced talks taking place towards signing agreements in this arena.
Mr. President, a topic that isn't going away soon is the agreement between Western powers and Iran. Do you think that Iran will change its ways and discontinue nuclear activity?
"I'm not sure we understand what is happening inside Iran. In theory, the ayatollahs have reached the end of their road. They have no future to offer. They are like the Muslim Brotherhood. We have to apply pressure on this issue in a way that doesn't harm us. We need to target national policies without targeting the people. These six months are a trial period.
"President Obama went very far with his commitments. He made unequivocal declarations and he must uphold these commitments. I believe he will do this first through economic and diplomatic means."
Syrian President Assad is strengthening his grip on the country, with the help of Hezbollah. Do you think he will continue to control Syria?
"He does not control Syria. The Kurds have created a de facto independent state. The Alawites are a state unto themselves. The Sunnis are also a state. He may have survived personally, but Syria has not survived. The money will run out soon. It's possible that Assad will remain on a small island where he terrorizes everyone, but he does not control all of Syria."
Do you have high hopes for negotiations with the Palestinians? Don't you think it's time for them to recognize Israel, as a basic condition for negotiations?
"The very fact of their signing an agreement, that is recognition. The minute you sign an agreement, each side recognizes the other. There are other unresolved problems and therefore you have negotiations. What is needed is to strengthen the pressure on the Gaza Strip, to say to the people of Gaza, you can either have terrorism or normal life. Today there is more of a chance of this because Egypt holds the same view. The minute they commit terrorism they lock the doors. The government entered negotiations and I welcome this. I support this. But negotiations start with a lack of agreement."
In July, you end your term as president. One of the assessments of what you will do next is that you will return to politics. Do you have such ambitions?
"I have no such plans. I plan to serve the country in informal ways. I think that politics today are in need of greater goodwill, or at least better organization. I will contribute what I can. I have no plans to represent a party. I was approached prior to elections and since then they know I'm not interested. On some level, every man is political. What I can say is that I will continue to care about the country. I was elected for a seven-year term. I think it's proper to start the job in due time and to leave in due time.
"I will complete my term on July 15, and that's it. I want to complete my term with dignity. I served for as long I could, faithfully and with honor."