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Netanyahu Meets Putin: Israel Will Defend itself against Iranian Aggression

Netanyahu Meets Putin: Israel Will Defend itself against Iranian Aggression

Wednesday, 9 May, 2018 - 18:30
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Moscow on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin with Syria and President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal at the heart of their discussions.

After 10 hours together, Netanyahu said he conveyed Israel's obligation to defend itself against Iranian aggression.

"I think that matters were presented in a direct and forthright manner, and this is important. These matters are very important to Israel's security at all times and especially at this time," he said.

Prior to the meeting, Netanyahu he said he was eager to discuss ways of "solving crises and removing threats in a thoughtful and responsible manner."

Tensions between Israel and Iran are high over Iran's efforts to expand its military presence in Syria, where it is a key ally of regime leader Bashar Assad.

Repeated airstrikes attributed to Israel have killed Iranian fighters and prompted threats of reprisal from Tehran.

The latest such strikes took place on Tuesday night hours after Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran deal.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles targeted depots and rocket launchers that likely belonged to Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Kisweh, killing at least 15 people, eight of them Iranians.

Trump's announcement of the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal has triggered uncertainty and threatened to spark more unrest in the Middle East.

"The meetings between us are always important and this one is especially so," Netanyahu said ahead of his departure. "In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued coordination" between the two militaries. Netanyahu made no mention of the overnight strikes.

The Israeli PM, who has been a fierce critic of the Iran del, welcomed Trump’s decision on Tuesday.

He gave a televised address minutes after Trump's announcement to express his strong backing for the "historic" decision that reflected many of Tel Aviv’s concerns.

The announcement came after Netanyahu's elaborate unveiling of tens of thousands of intelligence documents on Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions last week, which Trump mentioned in his speech.

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