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President Barack Obama formally bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom — on visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres late Wednesday. Peres thanked Obama and said Israel supports his policy on Iran.
Guests at a gala dinner in Peres' honor included Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, Bill and Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, as well as Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel. Dalia Rabin, daughter of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was also present.
Peres invoked the memory of Nazi Germany's efforts to exterminate European Jews, and warned that in a new age "the danger is today concentrated in Iran," whose leaders "bring darkness to a world longing for light."
"They are trying to build a nuclear bomb," he said. "It is our responsibility to our own people, to our friends throughout the world, to posterity, that the Iranian threat must be stopped, and it cannot be delayed."
"Mr. President, you worked so hard to build a world coalition to meet this immediate threat," Peres said. "You started, rightly, with economic sanctions. You made it clear — rightly, again — that all options are on the table. Clearly, we support you and your policy." (more...)