Netanyahu phones Putin to object to missile sale to Iran

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express “grave concerns” regarding the potential future sale of S-300 missile systems to Iran.

During the phone call Tuesday, Netanyahu said the sale would encourage Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

In a statement released later in the day, Netanyahu said the “dangerous” Iran deal framework reached April 2 in Switzerland was responsible for prompting Putin to green light the sale.

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“This sale of advanced weaponry to Iran is the direct result of the dangerous deal on the table between Iran and the P5+1,” he said in the statement, referring to the six world powers negotiating with Iran. “Can anyone still seriously claim that the deal with Iran will enhance security in the Middle East?”

Netanyahu is considering traveling to Moscow to meet with Putin personally on the issue, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

On Monday, Putin lifted a ban on the sale of advanced surface-to-air defense missiles to Iran that had been in place since 2007. The move prompted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to phone Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to protest any future missile sales.