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Israeli, Russian Leaders Discuss Iran

Olmert (left) and Putin in the Kremlin (ITAR-TASS) October 18, 2006 -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today.

Olmert said that topping the agenda was "everything connected to the Iranian problem that bothers everyone."

He hailed Putin and recalled the promise Putin made last year that Russia's relations in the Middle East will no longer be one-sided.

For his part, Putin said the relations between the two countries were based on mutual trust.

"In recent years, relations between the Russian Federation and Israel have acquired an entirely new quality. They have become a lot more trusting," he said. "We have fundamentally changed our attitude to our compatriots -- we think of them as our compatriots -- who moved to Israel for permanent residence from Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union."

Olmert is also meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Israel is pushing for sanctions against Iran over Tehran's nuclear programs while Russia opposes the move.

"If the leader of such a country as Iran openly states that he wants to
destroy our country, we have no choice but to prepare for a response," Olmert said. "We must prevent this."

Olmert is in Russia to mark 15 years of diplomatic ties between Israel and Russia.