Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone discussion on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he said the missiles he is allowing to be transported to Iran have only “defensive” purposes and won’t menace the Middle East.
The talk comes only 24 hours after Putin said Russia was immediately lifting a five-year ban on supplying one of the world’s most advanced anti-aircraft systems to Iran. Two weeks ago, Iran and the world powers, including the United States and Russia, reached a framework agreement, on toning down its nuclear program in return for the stoppage of economic sanctions.
Russia announced Tuesday it would need at least six months before it could ship the S-300 air defense missile system to Teheran.
In the phone call with Netanyahu, Putin motivated the logic behind his decision, saying the action “would not pose any threat to the security of Israel or other countries in the Middle East”. According to a statement by the Kremlin, the Russian president explained that the technical and tactical specifications of the defense missile system make it a “purely defensive weapon.”
Netanyahu talked about Israel’s “grave concerns” over the missile system, by saying the sale “will only encourage Iranian aggression in the region and further undermine the stability of the Middle East.”
Israel is against the nuclear deal reached this month and believes Iran may try to push forward a nuclear bomb project in secret. Israel has menaced to use military force in order to prevent that from happening. The advanced air defense system Putin gave the green light would make an Israeli charge more difficult.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that Russia was already supplying Iran with some goods in exchange for oil. Peskov added this trade was not forbidden under the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama launched a warning to Iran, saying its fighters must not meddle with Iraq’s sovereignty and cooperate with Baghdad in the battle against Islamic State militants.
Iran-backed Shi’ite forces have played a major role in fighting the Sunni Islamic State, the terrorist group that gained strength from the chaos in Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi was forced to use Shi’ite militias, some of which are supported by Iran and led by Iranian military officers, after Iraq’s regular military was faced with large scale desertions last summer.
Image Source: Great News