Russian FM criticizes Iran's calls for Israel's destruction


Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denied Israeli charges that his country has been seeking to entrench itself militarily in Syria.

The Iranian adviser said his country is now exporting phosphate from Syria.

In November, Israeli satellite photos appeared to strengthen a BBC report that Iran was building a permanent military base in Syria, just 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Israel's northern border.

Speaking further, Zarif said that Iran and Saudi Arabia could work together to stabilize and reconstruct the region.

The mobile command center from which Israel says an Iranian operator flew a drone from Syria into Israeli airspace on February 10, 2018. "And it is best to do this legally through the Syrian government".

Turkish "Olive branch" operation in Syria's Afrin has been carried out since late January.

Iran's top diplomat on Monday warned that the use of proxies by the U.S. is unsafe for the region.

It was not the first time that Iranian officials have uttered such remarks.

Thousands of Syrians who live along the Israeli border are surviving thanks to Israeli aid, according to Tsurkov, who noted that "Syrians who return from medical treatment in Israel tell their friends and relatives about the high quality of the care and describe Israel as a lovely and highly advanced country".

Earlier this month, the Israeli Air Force allegedly downed an Iranian UAV in Syria, with Syrian air defenses, launching several anti-aircraft missiles against the Israeli F-16 fighter in response. Over the past few years, the Israeli military has launched sporadic attacks against various targets on Syrian soil, in assaults slammed by Syria as attempts to boost the terror groups.

"The U.S. president has big ambitions, but they will never come true", said Zarif, who was in Moscow for a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club - a gathering of Russian and global foreign policy experts - on the Middle East.

"Such concerns arise after studying the plans which the United States is starting to implement on soil, chiefly east of the Euphrates, on the vast territories between this river and Syria's borders with Iraq and Turkey", he added.

Lavrov said United States claims that its only objective in Syria was the war on terror contradicted its real deeds in the country.