According to a new report, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed that U.S. sanctions on Iran be eased in return for removing Iranian forces and proxies from Syria. Netanyahu made his remarks at a hearing of the foreign affairs and security committee of the Knesset, Axios reported.
Russia has previously condoned Iran’s forces in Syria because the Iranians were invited by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Axios stated, “Lawmakers who attended the hearing said Netanyahu did not say whether the Russian proposal was made during his short conversation with Vladimir Putin in Paris last Sunday, but that it definitely seemed that way from the prime minister’s comments. They said Netanyahu spoke favorably about his meeting with Putin, and said the Russians cannot push the Iranians out of Syria on their own, but need help from other world powers.”
But Netanyahu also said Israel has not taken a position vis-à-vis the Russian position. When Axios contacted the State Department, a senior State Department official only said, “We remain engaged with the U.N. and other parties, including Russia, to encourage all possible efforts to advance the political track as called for in UNSCR 2254. We do not however discuss the substance of these diplomatic discussions.”
In August, the Russian foreign ministry website published a statement asserting that Moscow was “deeply disappointed by U.S. steps to reimpose its national sanctions against Iran,” adding, “We will do everything necessary in the interests of preserving and fully implementing the SVPD (Iran nuclear deal).” Slamming the U.S. for its continued efforts to scuttle the infamous iran nuclear deal, the ministry continued, “That is a glaring example of Washington’s continued practice of violating UNSC resolution 2231 and its trampling on international law.”
In October, a senior Trump administration official stated, “Iran might be pushing the idea of Russia selling their oil on the world market to evade sanctions. I would discourage Russia from even considering this. It would be in Russia’s best interests not to facilitate Iranian evasion of US sanctions.” Financial Times wrote, “Oil traders and analysts say it would be relatively easy to spot any large-scale transfers of oil from Iran to Russia, however. The pair shares no pipelines, so any movement would almost certainly rely on seagoing oil tankers, perhaps across the Caspian Sea, which would be relatively easy to track through satellite signals and imagery.”
Roughly two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia would circumvent the sanctions the U.S. has placed on Iran, as The Moscow Times reported. He stated, “Mechanisms are being currently hammered out within the framework of the joint group of participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [for the Iranian nuclear program], which will make it possible to continue performing provisions of this document, primarily with respect to economic ties with Iran, and without U.S. participation. Experts are vigorously dealing with this matter, and they have quite a stable understanding that this is possible and that such measures will be found.”