Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin warned President Shimon Peres Monday that attacking Iran could backfire. He also advised the world to keep its nose out of affairs in Syria, where Russia has a vested interest.
"Look at what happened to the Americans in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I told Obama the same thing," Putin stated concerning Iran. “There is no need to do things too quickly; one should not act without thinking first.”
Recalling the American objective to end the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and eliminate the terrorist infrastructure in the country, Putin noted, "Iraq has a pro-Iranian regime after everything that has happened there. These things should be thought out ahead of time before doing something one will regret later."
Putin and his Israeli hosts made their disagreements on Iran obvious although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a separate meetng that he and Putin were able to agree “that Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat first and foremost to Israel, but also to the region and to the world.”
They clearly were at odds on how to stop that pursuit.
Russia has been a constant opponent to American-led efforts to pressure Iran to allow United Nations supervision of its nuclear development program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes and not for the objective of building a nuclear weapon.
President Peres told his guest, "The Iranian people are not our enemy. Israel does threaten their existence. It is Iran's current regime that indentifies itself as an enemy of Israel and a threat to its existence."
Prime Minister Netanyahu was blunter. He said, "I believe that we should be doing two things now: Boosting the sanctions and also boosting the demands.
“Israel believes that the international community should have three clear demands of Iran: Stop enriching uranium inside Iran; remove all the enriched uranium from Iran; and dismantle the underground nuclear facility near Qom.”
Similarly, Putin and Netanyahu were at odds on Syria, where Russia has supplied President Bashar Assad with massive military weapons, and perhaps chemical weapons, which have been used to bomb and kill 15,000 opponents of the regime during the 16-month-old uprising.
Besides expressing wishes for peace and warning against outside interference, Putin avoided Syria.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told Putin, “Regarding our neighbor to the north, a way to end the killing and the terrible suffering of the citizens of Syria must be found.”
He and Putin also released blatantly different statement on the declaration that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won the presidential elections in Egypt.
Putin “congratulated” Morsi on his victory, according to Russian media, and the Russian president noted “he hopes for constructive cooperation with Egypt’s new leadership in the aim of developing Russian-Egyptian relations and ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu simply noted that Israel “appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects its outcome.”
He called for “continued cooperation with the Egyptian administration on the basis of the peace accord between the two countries, which is in the interest of the two peoples and contributes to regional stability”.