Saturday, November 24, 2018

Press review: Netanyahu reveals Putin's Iran offer and Gazprom maps out TurkStream route


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu image from article

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia offers plan to remove Iranian forces from Syria, Netanyahu says
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his assistance to the United States and Israel in reducing Iran's presence in Syria in return for easing anti-Iranian sanctions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset behind closed doors. Based on deductions, Putin suggested this to US President Donald Trump when they briefly met in Paris during the events marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Although Russia’s Foreign Ministry has not confirmed that this discussion was held at this level, this does not mean that the Russian leader had not put forward these ideas, the paper says. Experts say that Moscow has some leverage over Iran in Syria, though minor at best. The Israeli prime minister stressed that this was an unofficial offer and that the Jewish state has not worked out its stance on this issue.

"Israel believes that Russia has leverage over Iran, but they understand that this is limited rather than complete leverage," Israeli political scientist and Head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, a public diplomacy [JB emphasis] project, Ariel Bulstein told the paper. The idea that Russia as a country, which de facto controls all of what is happening in Syria, should bear responsibility for this, and namely stop all of Iran’s attempts towards turning Syria into a foothold for an attack against Israel, is an Israeli position, he noted. "Touching on a possible bargain, I believe this is not a reasonable approach as sanctions against Iran are related to Iran’s appetite in the nuclear weapons sphere rather than Syria. The goal of the restrictions in this case is to bring the Iranian leadership to its senses and make it abandon operations in purchasing military-grade atoms." ...

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