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(photo credit: GPO)
Despite the warm welcome given to President Shimon Peres by Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner, hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Monday night opposite the parliament building in Buenos Aires in protest of his visit, shouting that he was a laureate of the "Nobel Prize for murder."
Peres, however, did not seem affected by the demonstration, choosing instead to focus on Mideast issues such as the nuclear crisis. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad carries the mark of Cain, he said at a luncheon hosted in his honor by Kirchner on Monday.
Citing two acts of terrorism perpetrated by Iran on Argentinean soil - the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in 1994 - Peres wondered who could allow a regime that murders innocent people to develop nuclear weapons.
"Who would believe them? Who could rely on them?" he asked.
At a news conference with Kirchner prior to the luncheon, Peres said that while he had no intention of interfering in Argentinean politics, he did want to touch on values. Iran is not just an Israeli or a Jewish issue, he said.
"We want to live in a civilized world in which a military man is not a killer," he continued, referring to Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is known to be one of the key figures behind the Buenos Aires bombings, which claimed dozens of lives and left hundreds wounded and maimed.
Peres praised Argentina for speaking out against Ahmadinejad, and lauded Kirchner as "one of the outstanding leaders against racism and anti-Semitism."
Kirchner said that her government absolutely condemned any form of racism or anti-Semitism, and could find no valid reason, religious or otherwise, for one person to kill another.
This condemnation "is the unwavering commitment of my nation," she said.
Next week Kirchner will host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.
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