Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during a meeting in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2013
Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during a meeting in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2013 © Li Rui - Pool/AFP
Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during a meeting in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2013
AFP
Last updated: December 19, 2013

Israel's Peres says world must keep pressuring Iran

Israel on Thursday urged China and other world powers to keep up pressure on Iran as talks on implementing a landmark nuclear deal were set to resume in Geneva.

"The world, in which China is a major player, should help the Iranian people to divorce themselves from the policies of threats and hostilities to prevent (Iran) from acquiring nuclear capability," Israeli President Shimon Peres said after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Jerusalem.

"We must maintain the diplomatic pressure; ensure the sanctions regime remains effective to force Iran to comply with the inspections and limitations which the international community demands," Peres said, according to a statement from his office.

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers were set to resume Wednesday, as the two sides look to implement an interim agreement in which Iran curbs its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of some sanctions.

The P5+1 -- which includes China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France plus Germany -- negotiated the November 24 accord, which is intended to buy time for a comprehensive agreement.

Israel and Western nations have long suspected Tehran of using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover for developing a nuclear weapons capability, while Iran insists the programme is entirely peaceful.

Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear power, views Iran as its greatest threat and has not ruled out military action to curb Tehran's nuclear drive.

But Peres insisted Thursday that "we do not view the Iranian people as our enemy."

"Our enemies are the policies and ideology driving the current Iranian regime," he said.

Peres and Yi also discussed US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians, which have made little headway since they resumed in late July, with the Israeli president thanking Beijing for its "constructive support."

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