Call for sanctions 

 

Eisin said the two men spoke "extensively and in great detail" about the Iranian nuclear issue in talks which she described as "very warm".

 

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"The prime minister reiterated his stance that only effective sanctions by the world can stop Iran's nuclear aspirations."

 

She added that Olmert warned that Iran's and Syria's quest to acquire advanced weapons systems from Russia "could change the balance of power in the region".

 

On Tuesday Putin, the first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since Josef Stalin in 1943, rejected military action against Tehran.

 

Russia is helping Iran erect its first nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

 

But Western governments fear the energy programme could be a precursor to building an atomic bomb.

 

Israeli accusations

 

Earlier on Thursday Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, accused Iran of trying to build an "empire" and spreading its "hegemony" over the region.

 

"On top of this they are building a nuclear bomb despite all their denials," he said.

 

"The evidence is clear because no country would spend millions and millions of dollars to build long-range missiles that can carry conventional weapons – it doesn't make sense."

 

Peres also said that Iran's strength lay in the split among the international community.

 

"I believe that if the international community shows a united position there won't be a need for a war or any bloodshed... and better to do it at the earliest possible call."