Following the Extraordinary Attack on Israel, Putin shared Shocking Counsel with his Iranian Counterpart

Russian President Vladimir Putin has echoed the global appeal for calm in the Middle East amidst the ongoing tensions following Iran’s recent attack on Israel.

Vladimir Putin expressed optimism that all parties would exercise rational restraint and avoid a fresh cycle of conflict that could have disastrous consequences for the entire region,” the Kremlin stated in a summary of a conversation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, as reported by The Moscow Times.

“Ebrahim Raisi emphasised that Iran’s actions were compelled and of a restricted nature. Simultaneously, he emphasised Tehran’s lack of desire for any further increase in tensions,” the Kremlin stated. “Both parties have expressed their belief that the ongoing events in the Middle East stem from the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

“The Kremlin has confirmed that Russia and Iran have taken principled approaches in favour of an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, addressing the difficult humanitarian situation, and working towards a political and diplomatic resolution of the crisis. The call also included a detailed discussion on the recent airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus,” stated the Kremlin.

Over the weekend, Iran responded forcefully to recent attacks on its diplomatic mission or, as some sources suggest, an adjacent Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) compound in Damascus. The retaliation involved the deployment of numerous drones and a combination of cruise and ballistic missiles.

Putin, the president of Russia, and Raisi, the president of Iran, meet in Tehran, Iran, on July 19, 2022. (Handout from REUTERS via President Website/WANA (West Asia News Agency))

Seven members of the IRGC, including Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the senior commander of the forces since the assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani in 2020, were killed in the strike.

Israel did not claim responsibility for the strike, however, other nations, such as the United States, attributed the attack to Israel.

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According to reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially considered direct retaliation, but he altered his plans following President Biden’s advice to “take the win” and emphasised that the U.S. would not back any direct response to Iran’s strike. Instead, Israel targeted Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli military says this picture shows its troops working in the Gaza Strip on November 5, 2018. the Israel Defence Forces told the AP

Nevertheless, Israel maintained a strong determination to respond to Iran, as Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant conveyed to U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday that Israel felt compelled to take action.

According to Axios, the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Gen. Herzi Halevi, stated on Monday that Israel is currently contemplating its next course of action. He emphasised that the numerous missiles and drones launched towards Israeli territory will not go unanswered and will be met with retaliation.

The international community remains concerned about the persistence of retaliation, despite pressure from Israel’s closest and arguably most vital ally to pursue a different course of action.

On December 18, 2023, Chief of Staff for Defence Staff Lloyd Austin (left) and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant (right) hold a joint press meeting in Tel Aviv. (AFP files by Alberto Pizzoli via Getty Images))

“The Middle East is on the brink,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told a Security Council meeting called on Sunday in response to the strikes. “The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate.” 

Biden has continued to increase his pursuit of a ceasefire deal, telling Iraq’s prime minister that the U.S. is “committed to a ceasefire that will bring the hostages home and prevent the conflict from spreading beyond what it already has.”

The president emphasised the United States’ dedication to Israel’s security, as stated in a readout of the phone call. According to White House national security communications spokesperson John Kirby, the president has no intention of engaging in a conflict with Iran. Kirby expressed confidence that Prime Minister Netanyahu is well aware of the president’s concerns.

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