peres zubkov 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
"Israel has no aggressive intentions, but insists on the right to defend itself," President Shimon Peres told Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victor Zubkov during a working meeting the two had at Beit Hanassi on Thursday.
In welcoming Zubkov, Peres emphasized that there were two vital issues on their agenda: world hunger, and the production of weapons of mass destruction.
The outcome of the Geneva talks between six of the world's major powers and Iran Thursday, with regard to halting Iran's nuclear program, was crucial, said Peres.
Israel had nothing against the Iranian people, he stressed, but was concerned not only about Iran's nuclear enrichment ambitions, but by the Iranian government's repeated threats to destroy Israel.
"The Iranians do not have the right to say that they want to destroy another member nation of the United Nations," he said.
Peres also charged the UN Human Rights Committee with being anti-Israel, in that of the human rights complaints it would be examining Friday, 10 were complaints against Israel. Moreover, he said, some of the members of the committee did not respect human rights in their own countries.
Peres appealed to Russia not to allow Iran to continue with its "double threat" of building a nuclear bomb and destroying Israel.
"We would like Iran to stop threatening Israel all the time," he said. "It's against the law and it's against the peace. The fighting of terror is a matter of human rights. One of the human rights is the right to remain alive, and Israel, like any other country, has to utilize its right to remain alive."
Peres again invoked Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany, saying that if Russia had not been victorious, Hitler, as "the greatest danger humanity ever encountered, might have continued on his path of destruction. I say this as a citizen of the world and as a Jew."
Zubkov, who brought greetings to Peres from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, endorsed their opposition to Iran having nuclear arms, and said that Russia would maintain its policy on terrorism.
"We eliminated terrorists in the past. We are doing so now and we will continue to eliminate terrorists in the future," he said.