Tabnak - Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was in Moscow yesterday to have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As expected before, most part of the meeting dedicated to Netanyahu’s claims against Iran and his attempts to distance Moscow from Tehran as one of its important partners. However, Putin’s reaction to one of Netanyahu’s main claims, showed his willingness to make a change in Russia’s overall strategy toward Iran.
International news outlets reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday that there could never be peace in Syria as long as there was an Iranian presence there.
"One of the things that we are fighting against together is radical Islamic terrorism. Of course, there was significant progress last year in the fight against the terrorism of radical Sunni Islam led by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and Russia has a very important contribution,” Netanyahu said ahead of his meeting with the Russian president.
After the meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his positions and noted that he had raised them with the Russian president. "We discussed at length the matter of Iran, its objectives and intentions in Syria, and I clarified that there cannot be a peace deal in Syria when Iran is there and declares its intention to destroy Israel," said Netanyahu, shortly after his meeting at the Kremlin.
Netanyahu is well-known in using false historical comparisons whenever he tries to make his case on an important international issue. This time too, he tried to legitimize his claims against Iran by linking Iran’s current strategy to the ancient Persian Empire and claiming that the Iranians have always wanted to wipe out the Jews.
"2,500 years ago in ancient Persia, there was an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed and we mark this on the holiday of Purim. Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews. They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles,” Netanyahu said before meeting with Putin.
Regardless of how wrong was Netanyahu’s claim about the Persian Empire’s behavior with the Jews – as in fact Cyrus the Great is known in the history as the savior of the Jews in his territory – Putin’s response to this baseless claim was interesting.
According to a report published by "Russia Today”, Russia’s President urged Israel to focus on modern world affairs instead of referring to the ancient history. Putin noted that those events had taken place "in the fifth century BC,” added that "we now live in a different world” and suggested discussing the actual up-to-date problems in the region.
Putin’s response was in fact a clear and polite opposition to Netanyahu’s baseless claims against Iran. In fact, by refusing to admit the claims or even keep silent about them, the Russian President preferred to express his unwillingness to focus on anything except the current challenges and how to face them and it is proved that Iran is a reliable partner for Russia to deal with these challenges.