Peres pushes Putin for tougher action against Teheran

A nuclear Iran is the world's problem and not just Israel's, President Shimon Peres told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a meeting in Beijing over the weekend. Putin stressed to Peres that he should have no doubt that Russia was against Teheran developing nuclear weapons, but that "Iran is still very far from having such a bomb." The former Russian president also said he believed that direct negotiations with Iran were the most effective way of reaching the desired result. Peres highlighted the need for a united world front and for "severe financial sanctions against Iran." The president and Putin were both in Beijing for Friday's Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Earlier Friday, Peres met his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, and said that China can be a key player in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons as well as in the war on terror, pointing to Beijing's involvement in resolving the North Korean nuclear standoff. In a meeting ahead of the opening ceremony, Jintao reassured Peres that China was closely following developments in the Middle East and would work to advance peace and prevent terrorism. "We are interested in increasing our contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East," said Jintao, according to a statement released by Peres's office. "We are following every regional development in the Middle East and Iran and we are acting constructively to bolster China's involvement in and contribution to peace and stability." During their meeting in their meeting at the Chinese Parliament building, the two men also spoke of strengthening ties between their countries, and Peres invited Jintao to visit Israel.