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Russia calls for restraint, speaks to Iran after strikes on Israel

Iran struck Israel to avenge a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 20:06 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 20:06 IST

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Moscow: Russia said on Sunday it was extremely concerned by Iranian strikes on Israel and called on all parties to exercise restraint, but said tensions would remain high until the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was resolved.

Iran struck Israel to avenge a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies.

"We express our extreme concern over another dangerous escalation in the region," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement on the Iranian attacks. "We call on all parties involved to exercise restraint."

Russia noted that Tehran had said the attack was made within the right to self defence after Israel's strike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus that Moscow condemned. Russia did not condemn the Iranian strikes on Israel.

Russia, which has close ties to Iran, said that the West had blocked attempts in the United Nations Security Council to respond to the Israeli strike on the embassy compound.

"We have repeatedly warned that the numerous unresolved crises in the Middle East, primarily in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, which are often fueled by irresponsible provocative actions, will lead to an increase in tension," the ministry said.

President Vladimir Putin's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian by telephone on Sunday.

"An further escalation of the situation in the region and dangerous new provocative actions may lead to an increase in tension," the Russian foreign ministry said in a readout of the call.

Israel was clearly unhappy with Moscow's response.

Israeli Ambassador to Russia Simona Halperin was quoted by Russia's RIA state news agency as saying the Jewish State expected Russia to condemn the Iranian attacks.

But that drew a swift public rebuke from Moscow.

"Remind me, when was the last time Israel condemned at least one of Kyiv’s attacks on Russian regions?" Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, referring to repeated Ukrainian attacks against targets inside Russia.

The Kremlin has yet to comment publicly.

But former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that a war between Israel and Iran would worsen Joe Biden's prospects of being re-elected U.S. president.

"America does not want a big war in the Middle East," Medvedev said on Telegram. "The killings in Gaza worsen Biden's prospects in the elections, and war between Israel and Iran would introduce additional uncertainty."

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Published 14 April 2024, 20:06 IST

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