From Russia’s TASS news agency:
Russia condemns Tehran’s remarks that Israel should be wiped off the map and also believes that solving any regional problems should not be viewed through the prism of a conflict with Iran, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
Tensions between Israel and Iran are escalating and there are historical reasons for that, Lavrov said at the opening of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s conference “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.”
“We have stated many times that we won’t accept the statements that Israel, as a Zionist state, should be destroyed and wiped off the map. I believe this is an absolutely wrong way to advance one’s own interests,” Lavrov stressed.
Russia has previously criticized Turkish president Erdogan’s stance on Israel as well.
Certainly, Russia wants to be seen as an honest broker and power player in the Middle East – the name of the conference “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.” makes that clear.
But for those of us who remember the attacks against Israel by the Soviet Union – which was instrumental in passing the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution at the UN – it is still jarring to hear Russia criticize anyone for anti-Israel statements.
Part of the credit for this must go to Netanyahu, who has been in close contact with Vladimir Putin for years now.
Lavrov did try to be even-handed in his criticism:
“By the same token, we oppose attempts to view any regional problem through the prism of fighting Iran,” he noted. This is happening in Syria, Yemen and even the latest developments around the Palestinian issue, including Washington’s announcement of its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, are largely motivated by this anti-Iranian stance,” Lavrov emphasized.
It is pretty clear, though, that Iran is indeed attempting to create a Shiite Muslim “crescent” from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, even if Russia doesn’t like seeing people frame things that way.
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