At a meeting Thursday with Deputy Prime Minister Reuven Rivlin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed Israeli fears of a nuclear attack by Iran. “So far there is no proof that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons,” Lavrov told Rivlin. “Russia estimates that Iran does not plan to attack Israel with nuclear weapons, especially given the current demographic makeup of Israel, which includes millions of Arabs and Muslims.”
Rivlin is in Moscow on an official state visit. He has been meeting with Russian officials on a number of important issues, including defense, trade, and the state of Russian Jewry. Accompanying Rivlin are MKs Ze'ev Elkin, Marina Slobodkin, and Robert Eliatuv. All three joined Rivlin for a ceremonial get-together with Lavrov Thursday morning, before Rivlin and Lavrov retreated to a separate room for a private discussion.
Rivlin appealed to Lavrov to use Russia's sway with Iran to influence Tehran to stop its weapon development program. “The friendship between Russia and Iran provides and important opportunity to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Rivlin said, adding that Russia had an obligation to use its relationship with Iran to quash the program.
Lavrov said that Russia did not automatically support Iran on every issue, and that it was aware of what the implications of a nuclear Iran were. Still, he said, Israel does not need to be overly worried about a nuclear Iran, even if such a thing does come to pass.
Rivlin also appealed to Lavrov to ensure that Syria's non-conventional weapons stayed out of the hands of terrorists. “The support Russia provides to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will bring about a situation where non-conventional weapons will slip into the hands of terror groups, which are also a threat to Russia,” Rivlin said. “We have not intervened in any way in the Syrian crisis in order to ensure that neither side can use such intervention in the civil war that is going on, but we are certainly following events there. Russia needs to show responsibility for the security of Europe,” Rivlin added.