Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that he is willing to order military strikes against Iranian position in Iran and Lebanon.
“I explained our policy,” Netanyahu told reporters, per the Times of Israel. “These are not idle words.”
There was a good-will component to the trip, as Putin and Netanyahu toured Moscow’s Judaism and Tolerance Museum together. But the substance of the meeting focused on national security threats that Netanyahu raised.
“This meeting occurred while there is a watershed change in Syria. Will Iran establish itself in Syria or will this process be stopped?” Netanyahu said, per Haaretz. “If it is not halted on its own then we will act to stop it. We also spoke about Lebanon. I told [Putin] that the threat of precision weapons against Israel is a serious threat that we are not willing to accept and if we have to act, we will act.”
Putin has partnered with Iran in propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad in the civil war against U.S.-backed rebels and the Islamic State terrorists. That cooperation has extended to assisting Iran’s efforts to secure territory required for a land-bridge through Syria to Lebanon, according to regional experts, home of Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
“Lebanon . . . is becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel,” Netanyahu explained. “These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we will cannot accept this threat.”
U.S. officials share that fear. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. — the top lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee — raised concerns about the Iran supplying guided missiles to Hezbollah in February. "If they succeed in this, they can pick the tallest buildings in Tel Aviv, the main landmarks in Jerusalem, the airport, the ships in the harbor,” Royce said last year.
Netanyahu didn’t suggest he’d convinced Putin to cut his partnership with Iran. “The Russians understand our position, they understand well the significance that we give to these threats,” he said.