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Israel presses Russia to help contain 'Iranian threat'

Israel is looking to Russia to help dial back Iran's ambitions to expand its presence and influence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they attend an event marking the International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the breakthrough the Nazi Siege of Leningrad in the World War II, at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow, Russia January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov - UP1EE1T16MCI6

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been rather mum on aspects of his meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the latter has made it clear they discussed concerns about Iran's bold actions in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular.

Putin’s encounter with Netanyahu took place Jan. 29, a few days after the Israeli leader met with US President Donald Trump. Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, citing an unidentified source in Washington, suggested the United States and Israel want to persuade Russia to counter Iran not only in Syria but also on the Iranian nuclear deal. Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren told Kommersant that Moscow “shares the concern over the Iranian nuclear program and perfectly understands its most dangerous potential” — otherwise it wouldn’t have insisted on implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Tehran in 2015.

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