Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iran could become a major threat to Russia in future.
“I told [Putin] that the greatest danger to future Russia is radical Islam. Today it is governed by two forces: the first is Sunni radical Islam, the leaders of ISIS and its groups… The greater evil is Shiite radical Islam, governed by Iran, which is trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Netanyahu told the Russian news agency RBC in an interview.
“Ultimately [Shiite radical Islam] will direct its ideology and weaponry not only against Israel and the West, but also against Russia, because it is opposed to our common culture and wants to rule the world,” the Israeli leader believes.
In the interview, Netanyahu also gave an appraisal of Russia-Iran relations, stressing that he does not see signs of them strengthening.
“In a certain sense, it’s the case, but I don’t think that Russia’s and Iran’s positions will always coincide. Yes, there are certain things in which they, these positions, are similar, but I wouldn’t say completely,” RBC cites the Israeli PM as saying.
In keeping with tradition, Netanyahu said that Israel absolutely cannot tolerate the presence of any Iranian troops in Syria.
“I won’t let Iran say: ‘We intend to place our army right at your back door, bringing missiles, drones, militia. We intend to destroy you while you sit and wait,” Netanyahu said.
Moscow has frequently objected attacks against facilities in Syria that have resulted in Iranian deaths. These attacks have been attributed to Israel.
Iran is considered Russia’s ally in the Syrian civil war, because it sides with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow is an avid proponent of saving the Iran nuclear deal, whereas Israel considers the deal a mistake, and is constantly citing evidence of Tehran breaching the terms of the deal.
“Moscow has drawn attention to the statement by Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu that he intends to spread Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan valley, which elicited a severe negative reaction from the Arab world,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We share the concern regarding such plans by the Israeli leadership, the implementation of which could lead to a drastic escalation in the tension in the region and undermine the hopes of a long-awaited peace being established between Israel and its Arab neighbors,” the statement continues.
“We affirm our consistent and unchanged stance on the need for a complex political solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict on the basis of the plan to create two states for two nations along the 1967 borders. The only reliable way to resolve all the present disagreements is through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the well-known international legal basis, including the applicable UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principles and the Arab Peace Initiative,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.