Israel says Russia against a nuclear-armed Iran
AFP | April 11, 2007
Russian security council secretary Igor Ivanov held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday, with Israel saying Moscow also did not want an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.
"Mr. Olmert and Mr. Ivanov reaffirmed that Israel and Russia are opposed to Iran being able to provide itself with nuclear weapons," Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin told AFP.
Iran has repeatedly stressed that it is not seeking nuclear weapons and that its enrichment programme is purely for peaceful use. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East with some 200 nuclear warheads.
"Mr. Ivanov's visit is taking place within the framework of reinforcing relations between the Russian and Israeli security councils," Eisin added.
Moscow has close relations with Tehran and is building Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, but it joined in backing UN Security Council sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt its enrichment programme.
Israel sees Iran as its main enemy, especially in the face of calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".
Earlier, Ivanov discussed with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni the fate of an Israeli soldier captured last June 25 by a Palestinian commando, and two other seized on July 12 by Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.
The June seizure led to a massive Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip and the deaths of some 400 Palestinians, while the July capture provoked a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in which more than 1,200 Lebanese -- mostly civilians and one-third of them children -- were killed.
Negotiations are currently being held to try to arrange a swap involving some 450 Palestinians for the Israeli corporal Gilid Shalit.
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