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Israel appeals to Russia over Iran/Syria arms deals

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Israel appeals to Russia over Iran/Syria arms deals

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Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is asking Russia to reconsider arms sales to Syria and Iran.

Olmert met Russian President Dmitry Medveydev on a two day visit to Moscow. He urged Moscow to “do all it could” to prevent advanced weaponry and technology passing from Damascus into the hands of Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon. He is also looking for an agreement on containing Iran’s nuclear programme, which Israel regards as a threat to its existence.

Olmert wants the Russians to increase their involvement in Western efforts to prevent Iran achieving the capability of producing nuclear weapons. Israeli defence sources say a deal between Moscow and Tehran is imminent, although Iran has not yet taken delivery of Russia’s advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.

With the system in place, Iran would be in a much stronger position to fend off an Israeli or an American pre-emptive strike aimed at destroying its nuclear facilities. Military analysts say the possibility of such an action would be greatly increased if Iran was to purchase the system.