(JTA) – Iran’s effort to establish a military base in Syria “poses a danger to Israel, the Middle East and to the entire world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Mr. President, we are all winning a tremendous international effort for Daesh, and this is welcome, but what is not welcome is that in places where Daesh is leaving, Iran is entering,” Netanyahu said Wednesday in front of reporters at the start of a meeting with Putin in the Black Sea Russian resort town of Sochi. Daesh is another term for the Islamic State.
Netanyahu also noted that “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent in practice already is in control of Lebanon. We do not forget for a moment that Iran continues to threaten Israel with destruction every day.”
Calling Iran a “terrorist organization,” the prime minister said “It is developing intercontinental missiles with the intention of arming them with nuclear weapons, and for all these reasons Israel opposes the continued establishment of Iran in Syria. We will protect ourselves by any means against this threat and in general.”
Putin did not address the remarks about Iran and Syria while the leaders spoke in front of reporters, according to reports. Mossad chief Yossi Cohen reportedly accompanied Netanyahu to the meeting.
Their meeting was the sixth in two years between the two leaders.
“In the past two years Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with Russian President Putin every few months in order to discuss bilateral and regional issues and in order to prevent friction between the Israeli and Russian air forces in Syria, so far successfully,” said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office earlier in the week.