Russia Says It’s Extremely Concerned by Rise in Middle East Tensions, Urges Restraint 

A boy rides a donkey near one of the batteries of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system at a village not recognized by Israeli authorities in the southern Negev desert on April 14, 2024. (AFP)
A boy rides a donkey near one of the batteries of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system at a village not recognized by Israeli authorities in the southern Negev desert on April 14, 2024. (AFP)
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Russia Says It’s Extremely Concerned by Rise in Middle East Tensions, Urges Restraint 

A boy rides a donkey near one of the batteries of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system at a village not recognized by Israeli authorities in the southern Negev desert on April 14, 2024. (AFP)
A boy rides a donkey near one of the batteries of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system at a village not recognized by Israeli authorities in the southern Negev desert on April 14, 2024. (AFP)

Russia said on Monday it was very worried by the rise in tensions in the Middle East following Iran's mass drone and missile attack on Israel at the weekend.

"We are extremely concerned about the escalation of tensions in the region," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "We call on all countries in the region to exercise restraint."

"Further escalation is in no one's interests. Therefore, of course, we advocate that all disagreements be resolved exclusively by political and diplomatic methods," Peskov said.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

Russia has refrained from criticizing its ally Iran in public over the strikes.

Moscow on Sunday noted that Tehran had said the attack was made within the right to self-defense after Israel's strike on the Iranian embassy compound, which Moscow condemned.

President Vladimir Putin's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian by telephone on Sunday.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.