Israel Fearful of Iran-Russia Military Ties

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israel has urged Russia to turn a blind eye to its military deals with Georgia and to halt its sale of advanced weapons to Iran and Syria.

The Israeli appeal to Russia followed the conflict in the Caucasus which started with Georgia’s military offensive into independence-seeking South Ossetia to reclaim the de-facto region.

Russia has accused the US and Israel of orchestrating the conflict and supporting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in carrying out the assault.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, Israel has supplied the government of Saakashvili with $300 million in armaments, including sophisticated spy drones, rockets and equipment useful in modernizing combat jets.

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, however, said Russia should not express its anger with Israel over its support for the Georgian government as a pretext for selling weapons to its “adversaries”.

Meridor claimed that Russian arms sales to Iran and Syria is “destabilizing and dangerous for Israel”.

Intelligence officials maintain that the war of words between the Kremlin and the White House over the Caucasus crisis has prompted Russia to sell its missiles to both Iran and Syria.

Iran, however, has denied reports that it has purchased the advanced Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense system.

Israeli intelligence officials had earlier expressed worries that the system could further enhance Iran’s defensive capabilities, which would complicate a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

“We hope that, despite the events in Georgia, the Russians will not supply Iran with arms,” Meridor said. “I hope the Russians know better. I don’t see why anybody would perceive our relationship with Georgia to be in any way threatening or destabilizing.”

Russia, which marched its troops into South Ossetia to end the Georgian offensive, has expressed concern over Israel’s arms sales to Georgia, saying such Israeli dealings will only fuel the crisis.

“Russia is against any military aid to Georgia and would like to see that country demilitarized,” Evgeny Khorisko, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in the US, told the Washington Times.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Iran insists that it should continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Speculation that Israel may bomb Iran rose after a military exercise by the Zionist regime earlier this year. In early June, Israel conducted a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in preparation, according to Pentagon officials, for an aerial bombardment of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s partook in the exercise, which spanned some 900 miles, roughly the distance between their airfields and a nuclear enrichment facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is among its main options on the table.

In response, Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran are in direct opposition to a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West’s allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran’s case must be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, found that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “is unlikely” to delay the country’s program.

The ISIS study also cautioned that an attack against Iran would backfire by compelling the country to acquire nuclear weaponry.

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