WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres, in a speech to an American-Israeli lobbing group in Washington, said Israel "must be strong" if it is to pursue peace.
Peres said the pursuit of peace is a moral imperative.
"It is the tenet of our nation's security. To make peace, Israel must be strong. Let me assure you, Israel is strong," he said Monday in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
He said peace "can and must be achieved" with the Palestinians. "A peace based on a two-state solution: a Jewish state -- Israel, and an Arab state -- Palestine," he said. The principle of 'the two state' solution is a paramount Israeli interest."
Peres said peace with the Palestinians would be nightmare for Iran.
"They are afraid that we shall make peace," he said. "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."
He praised President Obama's economic and political sanctions against Iran.
"The United States and Israel share the same goal: to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," he said. "There is no space between us. Our message is clear: Iran will not develop nuclear weapons."