(dpa) - Iran wants to take over control of Syria as part of its plan for "hegemony" over the Mideast, Israeli President Shimon Peres told a French radio station on Wednesday.
"Iran is trying to take control of the Mideast," Peres told Europe 1 radio. "Iran has two 'branch offices,' Hezbollah and Hamas. Now Teheran wants to get control of Syria."
Peres said that Iran was using "religious colonialism" to spread its influence in the region, and that it was making neighbouring Arab countries apprehensive.
"These countries are even more afraid of Iran and Hamas than we are," Peres said.
The Israeli president also charged that profits from its vast oil reserves were being used to finance its geopolitical plans, as well as terrorism.
"Oil is our greatest enemy today," he said. "In addition to the pollution (it produces), oil finances terrorism, from Venezuela to Iran."
Peres is on the third day of a five-day state visit to France. On Thursday, he is scheduled to open the Paris Book Fair at which Israel is the guest of honour. The event is being boycotted by Iran and a number of Arab nations.