UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow to discuss regional issues.
Israel is pressing world powers to “fix or reject” the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as President Donald Trump approaches the May 12 deadline.
Israel is also concerned that Iran has established its military presence in Syria and bombed Iranian targets there.
Since its intervention in the Syrian civil war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, Russia has generally turned a blind eye to Israel’s attacks against suspected arms proliferation and transfers carried out by Assad’s allies from Iran and Hezbollah.
But when Moscow condemned an April 9 attack that killed seven Iranians and claimed responsibility for Israel, there was speculation in Israel that Russia’s patience might be running out.
Israel’s defense minister said on Thursday his government’s decision not to join the Western sanctions imposed on it and asked Moscow to reciprocate through a more biased approach to Israel regarding Syria and Iran.
Netanyahu and Putin spoke by phone on Monday after the Israeli prime minister presented what he said were Iran’s secret nuclear documents documenting its quest to develop nuclear weapons.
US and Israeli officials said the information showed Iran had lied about its previous work to develop nuclear weapons, but intelligence experts said there was no firm evidence Tehran had violated a nuclear deal under which it curbed its nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.
Trump gave Britain, France and Germany until May 12 to repair what they saw as “appalling flaws” in the deal, including not addressing the Iranian ballistic missile program, or else it would reinstate US sanctions.
Moscow has repeatedly said it wants to keep the Iranian nuclear deal unchanged. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday Russia would consider any change in the agreement unacceptable.