Bush and Olmert talk up threat from Iran
US President George W Bush said the world
must consider Iran a threat to peace in the region at a White House meeting
with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was expected to press Bush to step
up efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"Iran is an existential threat to peace. It is very important for the world to take the Iranian threat seriously," Bush said in brief comments at the White House soon after Olmert's arrival.
Olmert called Iran the "main threat to all of us" and said he welcomed Bush's commitment to Israel during his visit to the region last month.
The two leaders were also set to discuss the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, and Israel's ongoing peace talks with Syria, revealed in May, which Olmert said "may lead to pull out Syria from the axis of evil."
Israeli media reports ahead of the meeting said Olmert would ask Bush to step up US and international action against Iran and prepare for a possible military strike against its nuclear facilities.
Olmert himself told a gathering of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee Tuesday night that international sanctions against Iran must be turned up.
"International economic and political sanctions on Iran, as crucial as they may be, are only an initial step, and must be dramatically increased," he said.
Israel views Iran as its main existential threat, given Tehran's nuclear drive and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's often-repeated statements that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.
Iran says it is only seeking civilian nuclear energy and denies it has attentions of acquiring atomic weapons, dpa reported.