Peres says has 'great hopes' for meeting
Photo: AP

Peres: Iranian nuclear bomb akin to 'flying death camp'

Russia's president hosts Israeli counterpart, says ready to talk about bilateral ties, regional challenges, including Iranian nuclear program. Peres likens Iranian nuclear weapon to 'flying death camp.' Medvedev: Iran obtaining nukes will spark worst case scenario of nuclear arms race in Middle East

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres for talks Tuesday that were focused on the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear standoff.


During their four-hour meeting, Peres and Medvedev discussed Iran's nuclear program. Peres said, "A nuclear bomb in the hands of Iran means only one thing – a flying death camp."


The Russian president responded, "Russia is opposed to nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Iran. We have no doubt that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, this will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This is the worst case scenario."


"The problem with Iran is not only their aspirations to develop nuclear weapons, but the nature of the regime," said Peres to Medvedev. "Mr. President, I am a Jew. A large part of my family was murdered by the Nazis and I cannot stand idly by when I hear declarations made by the Iranian president calling for the destruction of the State of Israel."


Peres added, "One cannot know what hands such nuclear weapons can fall into. Terrorist organizations are active all over the world and are not averse to any means."


The president emphasized that arms sales could disrupt the delicate balance of power in the region and asked in the name of the State of Israel that the Russian president re-examine his state's policy on the issue. 


A senior Iranian official said Tehran was ready for talks with the West on its disputed nuclear program based on mutual respect and without preconditions, state television reported on Tuesday.


US President Barack Obama has given Iran until September to take up a six-power offer of talks on trade benefits if it shelves sensitive nuclear enrichment, or face harsher sanctions.


Peres and Medvedev in Sochi (Photo: AP)


Russia aspires to host an international conference to discuss the Middle East peace process, and Medvedev and Peres discussed the issue during their talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.


Medvedev welcomed Peres by calling him "one of the world's most experienced politicians" and said he was ready to discuss both bilateral ties and regional challenges.


"We can touch on both Russian-Israeli ties and difficult issues related to the Middle East settlement and other regional problems," Medvedev said at the start of the talks. "There are more difficulties than we wish, but we still need to discuss them."


Peres told Medvedev that he had "great hopes" for the meeting.


Israel wants Russia, which has close ties with Iran, to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran, whose president has expressed hatred of Israel, maintains its nuclear program is only designed to provide more electricity.


Israel, the United States and other nations fear that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.


Speaking to reporters after the talks, Peres emphasized the Iranian threat to Israel, pointing at the Iranian references to the destruction of the Jewish state, Russian news reports said.


פרסום ראשון: 08.18.09, 14:51
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