Moscow says it will look out for Iranian interests at upcoming Jerusalem meet
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Moscow says it will look out for Iranian interests at upcoming Jerusalem meet

Russia’s national security adviser promises Moscow will ‘take into account’ Tehran’s needs, bring them to attention of Israelis and the US at gathering next week

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, flanked by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, meets with the BRICS countries' senior officials in charge of security matters, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on May 26, 2015. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, flanked by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, meets with the BRICS countries' senior officials in charge of security matters, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on May 26, 2015. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP)

Moscow will look out for Iran’s interests in next week’s tripartite meeting of top security officials from Russia, Israel and the United States in Jerusalem, President Vladimir Putin’s national security adviser said Thursday, amid growing regional tensions after Iran shot down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

“Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government and is actively involved in fighting terrorism. Therefore, of course, we will have to take into account the interests of Iran,” Nikolay Patrushev said.

Early next week, Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat will host Patrushev and their American counterpart, John Bolton, in Jerusalem for an unprecedented meeting to discuss various regional issues. Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf — for which Washington blames Tehran, and the unraveling nuclear deal with Iran are expected to top the agenda of the meeting.

“We will face the fact that the interests of states have different directions,” Patrushev told reporters in the Russian city of Ufa. “The Russian side will take into account the interests of Iran and bring them to the attention of the Israeli and the American sides.”

Earlier on Thursday, already-sky high tensions between Tehran and Washington reached new heights as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a US drone over international waters at the Strait of Hormuz.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the group’s commander, said the downing had sent “a clear message” to America. His country was not looking to start a war with any country,  he said, adding, “but we are ready for war.”

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hailed next week’s “historic and unprecedented” summit as an important step toward guaranteeing “stability in the Middle East during turbulent times.”

“What is important about this trilateral meeting of the two superpowers in the State of Israel is that it greatly attests to the current international standing of Israel among the nations,” he added.

Earlier this month, a senior US official said Washington would use the meeting to tell Moscow that Iran should withdraw from Syria, and ask for Russia’s suggestions on how to counter Tehran’s influence in the region.

The unnamed official said that the US supported Israel’s actions against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

“We would hope to make the point in conjunction with the Israelis that we don’t see any positive role for the Iranians — and that would extend beyond Syria, to Lebanon, to Iraq, to Yemen — other places where they’re active,” the official said, according to a Reuters report.

He added that Washington was sure that the summit, with Israel hosting both Russia and the US in Jerusalem, would irk Iranian leadership, and said that the fact that Russia was participating was a positive sign.

“The fact that the Russians see value in these conversations, that they’re willing to do it publicly, I think is in and of itself quite significant,” the official said.

According to a report by the Kan public broadcaster, Israel and the US will offer Russia incentives for an effort to curb Iranian influence in Syria, which could include legitimizing the continued leadership of Syrian President Bashar Assad. It was unclear what Washington and Jerusalem would offer Moscow in return.

Moscow is a close ally of Tehran and Damascus, while Jerusalem and Washington are the Islamic Republic’s archenemies.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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