Israeli president points finger at “Iranian threat”

Israeli President Shimon Peres shared his country’s fears over Iranian policies with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

The two presidents met in Sochi to discuss a number of issues ranging from economic co-operation to the Middle Eastern peace process and the history of World War II.

Medvedev called on Peres to “avoid confrontational scenarios” in Israel’s relations with the Palestinian territories and mentioned that Russia is a member of the Middle Eastern quartet advising the peace process. Medvedev said that Russia is offering to host the Mideast quartet negotiators in Moscow.

Israel’s President focused on Iran and how Mideast stability could be undermined if Teheran is allowed to build nuclear weapons. He said Israel’s relations with Iran were “complex and ambiguous”.

“Iran threatens to destroy Israel. It’s the only UN member-state which threatens to destroy another UN member-state,” he pointed out after the meeting.

At the same time Peres said Israel does not threaten Iran or any other nation.

The Israeli leader said that another reason for Jerusalem’s confrontation with Teheran is that the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier. World War II and the upcoming commemoration of its 70th anniversary were high on both presidents’ agendas. In a joint statement Russia and Israel condemned attempts to deny the Nazi Holocaust of Jews and to downplay sacrifices made by the Soviet Union to destroy Nazism.

“We are deeply enraged by the attempts to deny the great contribution that Russian people and other peoples of the Soviet Union paid for the victory over Nazi Germany, as well as attempts to deny the crime of the Holocaust, committed against European Jews, the genocide, which was finally stopped by the Red Army and the Allied forces,” the statement says.

The Second World War continues to have deep emotional significance in both countries and both nations have denounced revisionist attempts to rewrite the history of the war.