Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov warned Israel on Wednesday that a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would have catastrophic consequences.
Speaking at a press conference, Gatilov also played down the failure of this week’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s mission in Tehran, saying there was still a chance for new talks over Iran’s nuclear program.
The deputy foreign minister spoke of the consequences of an Israeli strike for the region as well as for “the whole system of international relations,” adding that he hoped Israel understood what was at stake.
Israel and the United States have not ruled out the possibility of a military strike on Iran, and the rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic has become increasingly heated toward the Islamic Republic in recent weeks.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rebuffed suggestions that American and Russian warnings against striking Iran would affect Israeli decision making, telling Channel 2 News the decision “is not their business.”
He said “the security of the citizens of Israel, the future of the state of Israel, this is the Israeli government’s responsibility.”
The U.S. and others believe tough economic sanctions must be given time to work. This week, the U.S. military chief said an Israeli attack would be “not prudent.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the international community last week that the sanctions imposed on Tehran are not working, and that Iran is continuing undeterred in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Amid Iranian threats to disrupt exports in response to sanctions, the price of crude oil fell from a nine-month high Wednesday on signs of slowing demand from China and Europe.
Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told the financial television network that Iran would have ballistic missiles capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States within two to three years.
According to Steinitz, Iran is spending billions of dollars on the development of long-range weapons that could threaten the US and Europe.