Russia condemns Israeli strikes in Syria, attempts to isolate Iran
During a three-way meeting between Israeli, American and Russian security advisers - focused primarily on Iran and Syria - Nikolai Patrushev calls attempts to demonize Islamic Republic 'unacceptable'; Bolton says 'all options remain on the table' if Tehran exceeds uranium enrichment limit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the beginning of the three-way meeting - focused primarily on Iran and Syria - called for the three countries to agree on expelling foreign forces from the war-torn neighboring country. He said Israel will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence there.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev also said the attempts to present Iran as the main threat to the region and equate it to international terrorist groups are "not acceptable,” urging Israel and the United States to show "restraint" toward the Islamic Republic.
Patrushev added that "Iran is contributing a lot to fighting terrorists on the Syrian soil and stabilizing the situation there." He also called on Israel and the U.S. to encourage a political settlement in Syria.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, said Washington's pressure campaign against Iran would lead it to enter negotiations.
"They'll either get the point or ... we will simply enhance the maximum pressure campaign further," Bolton told reporters. "It will be, I think, the combination of sanctions and other pressure that does bring Iran to the table."
Bolton also said that “all options remain on the table” if Iran exceeds uranium enrichment limit under the 2015 deal.
He was responding to a question about whether a military strike was still an option if Iran crosses the 300-kilogram stockpile threshold outlined in the atomic accord. Bolton says it would be "a very serious mistake for Iran to ignore those limits."
Iran says it will possess over 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium by Thursday, in violation of the deal. Europe separately faces a July 7 deadline imposed by Tehran to offer a better deal or Iran will begin enriching its uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.
Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, says it "should give up their pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons."
“The attainment of security and stability in our region is our common goal. It will be unattainable without reining in Iran’s aspirations and actions,” said Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. “Recent events underscore this conclusion, which must be taken into account in any outline for an agreement.”
Netanyahu kicked-off the summit by thanking both Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump for working with Israel on resolving regional conflicts. “All three of us would like to see a peaceful, stable and secure Syria,” Netanyhau said.
“We also have a common objective to achieve that larger goal, and that is no foreign forces that arrived in Syria after 2011 remain in Syria. We think there are also ways to achieve this common goal, which will create a more stable Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “The departure of all foreign forces from Syria - will be good for Russia, good for the United States, good for Israel, and may I add, good for Syria.”