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World must draw 'red line' on Iran's nuclear programme: Israel

AFP | October 19 2006

The international community must draw a "red line" beyond which Iran must not be allowed to develop its nuclear programme, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday.

"There is a limited range for compromises with Iran," Olmert said. "I am not against a reasonable agreement with Iran but a red line should be drawn beyond which it is not allowed to proceed."

Olmert spoke to reporters on board his plane following a three-day visit to Moscow during which he discussed with President Vladimir Putin the Islamic state's nuclear programme.e

Israel says the programme is aimed at developing an atomic bomb but Iran claims it is meant for peaceful use.

Olmert nevertheless hinted that Iran could be allowed to develop limited nuclear technology to be used for civilian purposes under international supervision.

"Iran should not be allowed to reach nuclear technology beyond a limited number of cascades" which would allow the production of energy but not weapons-grade nuclear material, he said.

Israel, the United States and the European Union have all called for sanctions against Iran following its refusal to comply with international demands to halt its nuclear activity. Russia and China have nevertheless rejected these calls.

The premier went on to say that following his meetings in Moscow he "has a strong feeling that Russia certainly objects to a nuclear Iran," and that he believed "that the differences between Israel and Russia were not on the level of principle but on the tactical level.

"The Russians say and do things that are not all revealed to the eye," he added. "The Russians are not at a completely different position over the Iranian issue than the US."

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