Russia Condemns Iran's Calls to Destroy Israel, but Also Tells Jerusalem That Tehran Is Not the Problem

Russian FM Lavrov admonishes Iranian desire 'to wipe Israel off the map,' but insists: Iranian meddling isn't the only way to understand Middle East

FILE PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rohani together with his counterpart Russia's Vladimir Putin Russia on November 22, 2017.
\ SPUTNIK/ REUTERS

Russia condemned Monday Iranian sentiments that Israel should be destroyed, but also sent a clear message to Israel that solving the Mideast's regional conflicts should not be viewed solely through the prism of conflict with Iran, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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In comments reported by the TASS news agency, Lavrov said "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's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Sven Hoppe/AP

Lavrov said that tensions between Israel and Iran are escalating and that "by the same token, we oppose attempts to view any regional problem through the prism of fighting Iran.

"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.

These comments follow the speeches made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Sunday at the annual Security Conference in Munich.

Holding up wreckage of the Iranian drone shot down by Israel recently, Netanyahu said Israel "will act if necessary not just against Iran's proxies but against Iran itself," and warning Zarif not to "test Israel resolve."

On the Iranian side, Zarif accused Israel of using aggression as a policy. When asked about what would Iran do if the United States abandoned the nuclear deal, Zarif said Iran will respond "seriously" if its interests were not secure, adding that the world will be "sorry for taking this erroneous course of action."

Zarif however said that the deal was struck the accord "in spite" of Netanyahu, adding that the world "will maintain" the agreement, "despite his [Netanyahu's] delusional attempts" to dismantle it."