Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a severe rebuke of Iran in Moscow on Monday during a panel discussion with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif at a conference. He rebuked the Islamic Republic’s continuous calling for the destruction of Israel.
“We have stated many times that we won’t accept the statements that Israel, as a Zionist state, should be destroyed and wiped off the map,” Lavrov reportedly said at the Valdai International Discussion Club conference called “Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.” He reportedly added, “I believe this is an absolutely wrong way to advance one’s own interests.”
That Lavrov issued this statement in Zarif’s presence was significant. According to the Jerusalem Post, Zarif merely smiled — something Dore Gold, head of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs, reportedly said Zarif “is very good at.”
During the discussion, Zarif reportedly referred to Israel’s response, in defense, to destroying Syrian and Iranian military installations after an Iranian drone was sent through the Syria-Israel border into Israel. Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli F16 fighter jet during Israel’s defensive response.
Speaking of the incident, which highlighted Iran’s continued aggression towards Israel, Zarif said:
Israel has violated Syrian sovereignty. So for the first time in 36 years, Syrian defense forces managed to bring down an Israeli plane. Is this a catastrophe? Is this a strategic complication, or is the fact that Israel violated the airspace of a sovereign state a strategic catastrophe?
Zarif reportedly continued: “Israel has to put a stop to its aggression. Don’t look for excuses, such as drones. We need to stop this aggression, and if anyone takes such an action against another country, it is possible to react.”
On Sunday, in Munich, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up a piece of the Iranian drone that was shot down for illegally entering his country, while addressing the audience at the Munich Security Conference (GPO).
Zarif was also present in the audience.
“Well, here’s a piece of that Iranian drone, or what’s left of it after we shot it down,” Netanyahu said. “I brought it here so you can see for yourself. Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours.”
Netanyahu added, “You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran — do not test Israel’s resolve!”
Mr. Zarif: do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. Don’t test Israel’s resolve. pic.twitter.com/8e6eNV27w3
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 18, 2018
According to the Jerusalem Post, Zarif dismissed Netanyahu’s presentation as a “cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response.”