The Iranian military presence in Syria, which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on Thursday to head off, includes a seaport, according to a report in The Times of Israel.
Speaking after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu described the alarming extent of long-term Iranian ambitions in Syria. He said Iran is “seeking to build its military forces, military infrastructure, in order to establish itself in Syria, including an attempt to build a seaport.”
He said he told Putin that “this would destabilize (the region) … I made it clear that this would be unacceptable to Israel.”
“This makes a (Syrian peace) accord impossible. It’s against everyone’s interests.”
When asked by a reporter if there was any indication from Putin whether he accepts the Israeli position, Netanyahu replied:
“I am not accustomed to repeat [in public] that which is said to me. I intentionally leave it to the other side, and they do not always choose to report [their response]. What I can say, and I repeat, the message [on the Israeli opposition to a continued Iranian presence] was understood. The message was delivered in unambiguous terms…Iran has made the destruction of Israel its national policy, and arms Hezbollah, which declares the same objective…We cannot accept any peace settlement which allows hostile Iranian forces on our borders…”
Netanyahu added that this might appear to be stating the obvious. However, he quoted former Prime Minister Menachem Begin as saying that “sometimes it is necessary to state the obvious.” As well, “there were things that were less obvious, which are now clearer after this meeting.”
Netanyahu also mentioned “the historic pension agreement between us; there will also be an agreement on the veterans. An end will be declared to this painful humanitarian problem — so President Putin told me…”
Timed with Netanyahu’s arrival in Moscow, the Kremlin took the opportunity to deny Al Jazeera’s report that Russia allows Israel to act against Hezbollah in Syria.