Israel: We Can Target Russian-Made Weapons

Israel: We Can Target Russian-Made Weapons

TEL AVIV, Israel — Infuriated by Moscow’s decision last week to revive a long-shelved S-300 missile deal to Tehran, officials here reiterated Israel’s right to target those batteries or any other high-end Russian arms transferred to regional terrorist organizations via Iran or Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an April 14 phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed Israel’s “grave concerns” that the S-300 sale “will only encourage Iranian aggression in the region [and will] further undermine the stability of the Middle East.”

Aside from making it much harder for Israel to wage prospective strikes against Tehran’s nuclear network, officials here say the mobile air-and-missile defense batteries further expand the list of Russian arms viewed as legitimate targets should Iran or Syria attempt to retransfer such “balance breaking” capabilities to Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

In a terse statement following a nearly hour-long talk, Netanyahu assailed the sale of advanced weaponry to Iran as “the direct result of the dangerous deal on the table” between Iran and six world powers.

However, not included in the public readout of the conversation, sources here say, was Netanyahu’s reminder to the Russian president of Israel’s “red lines” regarding attempts to retransfer Russian-origin systems via Iran or Syria to Hezbollah.

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