Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday that a Russian “warning” was issued ahead of the missile clashes between Israel and Iran on Syria.
Despite an international alert to prevent a Tel Aviv-Tehran crisis from worsening hours after Israel’s unprecedented missile attacks, the Iranian government and Interior Ministry were silent regarding reports that dozens of Iranian positions were hit in Syria.
Even Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards” did not respond to a statement by the Israeli Defense Ministry, which said it took out most of Iran's infrastructure there.
The Israeli strikes came few hours after the surprising visit of Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Tehran where he met with his Iranian counterpart Abbas Araghchi.
An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ryabkov carried a message from Moscow resulting from the meeting held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two days ago, the Israeli PM showed Putin evidence that Iran was establishing missile plants in Syria and was preparing for a missile attack on Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu also said that his country would respond to any Iranian attack.
According to the source, when Ryabkov informed concerned Iranian parties about the discussions between Netanyahu and Putin, a war of words emerged between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri concerning the intentions of the Revolutionary Guards to launch a missile attack, which would have great repercussions on the government’s efforts to work with European countries, Russia and China on the Nuclear Deal, especially after the US withdrawal.
“Rouhani accused the Guards of deliberately attempting to obstruct the Nuclear Deal,” the source said, adding that Bagheri responded to the President by saying: “What has the deal brought to us in order to protect it?
In a statement to Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency, Mohammad-Javad Jamali Nobandegani, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy, denied Israeli army reports that 20 missiles were fired towards Israeli territory from Syria, before Israel attacked in retaliation.
Jamali Nobandegani also denied that Iran has military bases in Syria.