Netanyahu flew to Russia to tell Putin that Iran is a major threat to Israel and the entire Middle East.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the Black Sea, where he warned that Iran’s military buildup is a significant danger not only to Israel, but to other countries as well.
“Iran makes huge efforts to cement its presence in Syria. This poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East and the whole world,” Netanyahu told Putin.
The Israeli leader was joined by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Meir Ben Shabbat, the recently appointed head of the National Security Council who reportedly presented Putin with sensitive intelligence materials on the issue in discussion.
Filling in the Vacuum Left by ISIS
Netanyahu further noted that wherever the Islamic State (ISIS) has retreated in Syria and Iraq, Iran has taken over and filled the vacuum. While ISIS poses a tactical threat to Israel, Iran poses a strategic one.
“We cannot forget for a moment that Iran continues to threaten the destruction of the State of Israel every day, arms terrorist organizations, encourages and initiates terror,” Netanyahu underscored, explaining why Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria and saying Israel would do whatever it takes to defend itself.
The two leaders also discussed other recent developments in the region, including the ceasefire in Syria, which Russia is sponsoring. Israel opposes aspects of the ceasefire because it solidifies Iran’s presence on Israel’s northern border.
“Israel has no objection to a (peace) agreement in Syria, but we are firmly opposed to such an agreement in which Iran and its proxies will be left with a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told Putin already in May.
Netanyahu and Putin met on several occasions over the past year, most recently in Moscow in March. They have since often spoken by phone and continue to do so on a frequent basis.
Frantic Attempts to Block Iran
Last week, an Israeli delegation that visited Washington and met with US officials was reportedly discouraged by the position taken by the US on Syria.
The delegation was sent to the US to warn against the military deployments by Hezbollah, Iranian forces and the Syrian regime, and to tell the US “exactly what is going on there,” according to officials. Such a military buildup directly threatens Israel.
Israeli media reports noted that the delegation shared “sensitive, credible and deeply troubling intelligence,” showing the expanding deployment of pro-Iranian forces in Syria, which estimates put at 500 Iranian army soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah terrorists and several thousand guerrillas from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
American officials reportedly refrained from pledging to insist on the removal of all pro-Iranian militias from Syria in the ceasefire talks currently underway with Russia.
By: World Israel News Staff