President Shimon Peres on Sunday said that he would have no problem meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jerusalem Post reported.
"Why not?" he said in an interview with CNN's Richard Quest at the Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv. Israel and Iran are not enemies, he said.
The important factor was not the man in question, but his policies, and the goal was to turn enemies into friends. Peres compared the decision to Israel's choice to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ahead of the Oslo Peace agreements.
Peres said that he had his doubts whether Rouhani could follow through on his promises of moderation given the political climate in Iran and the strength of hardliners, such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The president said that Israel, like the United States prefers to stop Iran's nuclear drive through diplomatic measures.
"We also prefer economic or political pressure before anyone begins to shoot. We are not in a hurry to shoot," he stated.
He rejected the idea that Israel was isolated on the Iranian issue, stating that there was an "impressive coalition" of countries who do not want to see Iran with a nuclear bomb, including the Russians and the Chinese.
Peres said that while there have been arguments with the United States over the handling of Iran's nuclear program, "basically the relations have remained as they were and as they should be."