Middle East

Israel's Peres hails 'determined' Russia stance on Iran

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres after a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS)

JERUSALEM: Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday hailed a "determined" stance from Russia on Iran's nuclear programme and said Moscow's position on a range of issues was close to Israel's.

"The positions of the Russians are much more complex than what we think -- more, let's say, on Israel's side on a lot of issues," Peres told Israel's army radio in Moscow at the end of a four-day visit during which he held talks with President Vladimir Putin.

"Without going into details, I also found the Russians have a much more determined stance on Iran," he said.

Last month, Russia said it was "very concerned" by a new round of EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, describing them as "unacceptable" and saying they would only undermine the resumption of negotiations.

Israel and much of the West suspect Iran's civilian nuclear programme is a cover for a drive for a weapons capability -- a charge which Tehran has repeatedly denied.

Iran's nuclear programme was one of the issues discussed in a 90-minute meeting between Putin and Peres at the Kremlin on Thursday, the Israeli president's office said.

"During the private meeting, the two men discussed the Iranian threat, the ongoing situation in Syria, ways to restart the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the strategic relations between the two countries," it said.

"President Putin said that he had spoken to President Peres about the developments in the Middle East, the situation in Syria, the Iranian nuclear programme and that Russia has a deep understanding of how to solve those problems," it added.

Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, says it regards a nuclear Iran as a threat to its existence and has consistently refused to rule out a resort to military action to prevent Tehran from acquiring a weapons capability.





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