Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russia on Monday for talks focused on Syria, warning that Israel will not accept Iran’s growing military presence there and in neighbouring Lebanon.
Before departure for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu said that Iran is trying to turn Lebanon into “one giant missile site, a site for precision missiles against the state of Israel, which we will not tolerate.”
Netanyahu also pointed at “Iran’s relentless efforts to establish a military presence in Syria, which we strongly oppose and are also taking action against.”
“Israel will not accept the presence of precision missiles. If we need to act in Lebanon, we will act,” he told journalists at the conclusion of the meeting earlier with Putin.
The Israeli premier also said he discussed with Putin Iranian entrenchment in Syria. “We are now on the cusp of a watershed moment of whether Iran will entrench itself there or if the process will be stopped. I told Putin that if it isn’t stopped by itself, we will act to stop it. In practice, we’re already operating,” he told the journalists.
Netanyahu also addressed reports that Damascus had threatened to attack Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport if Israel carried out another military strike in Syria.
“We always take all the elements and considerations in the area into account,” he said, before accusing Iran of attempting to rattle stability in the Middle East.
“The element currently trying to change the status quo in Syria and Lebanon is one—Iran. This is an element that is actively trying to shift the arena and turn Syria into a military colony,” he asserted.
Another major topic discussed at the meeting with Putin was, Netanyahu said, the Iranian nuclear agreement. The prime minister raised before Putin Israel’s reservations, “which in many cases are reservations I have heard from Trump. I cannot guarantee what Russia’s stance will be on the matter, but they understood what will happen if corrections are not inserted (into the deal.)”
“I think that the main lesson of the rise of the Nazis and—afterwards—their defeat, is that one needs to take a strong and timely stand against murderous ideologies,” Netanyahu told Putin during a meeting at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.
“We will stand before them [Iran] with all our might,” Netanyahu said. “There will not be another Holocaust.”