Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Russia President Vladimir Putin in Sochi Wednesday alongside Mossad Director Yossi Cohen stating directly to the Russian President “Iran is increasing its efforts to establish its military foothold in Syria” and that Israel wants to “prevent a war” in the future.
It is the first time the prime minster used the word “war” regarding Iran, stating “We want to prevent war and it is a good to warn,” referring to intelligence shared on Iran’s efforts and growing presence in the region.
He spoke of Israel-Russia ties, beginning before the establishment of the State of Israel with Russia and the Red Army’s efforts in defeating the Nazis. Netanyahu then spoke of Iran and its efforts to establish itself in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and increase its presence in Lebanon.
He stated “Mr. President, in the past few years we have met to discuss not only our bilateral ties, we are continuously working on them, but also the situation in the Middle East, which is now changing rapidly. Iran is increasing its efforts to establish its military foothold in Syria. That is dangerous for Israel, the Middle East and, I believe, the whole world. Iran is already in advanced stages of taking over Iraq and Yemen, and in effect it also controls Lebanon.”
He went on to state “Mr. President, we are all defeating ISIS in a concerted international effort, and that is welcome. What is not welcome is Iran moving in everywhere ISIS moves out. We do not forget for one minute that Iran continues to threaten Israel’s destruction every day. It is arming terrorist organizations and is itself instigating terrorism; and it is developing intercontinental missiles with the goal of arming them with nuclear warheads. For all these reasons, Israel continues to oppose Iran’s entrenchment in Syria. We will defend ourselves in any way against this threat and any threat.”
Addressing questions from the press, Netanyahu confirmed that most of the three hour conversation with Putin was regarding Iran, stating “Most of the conversation we discussed Iran’s efforts to establish itself in Syria in areas where Daesh [ISIS] is being driven out. The victory over Daesh is welcome, Iran’s encroachment is not, and in my opinion it endangers the region and the entire world… I expressed our positions on the matter to President Putin clearly that this is unacceptable for us.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, August 23, 2017, and reposted with permission.