Kremlin says Israel promised not to strike Iran

Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:29am EDT
 

By Conor Humphries

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Israel promised Russia it would not launch an attack on Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview aired on Sunday in which he described such an assault as "the worst thing that can be imagined."

Israel has hinted it could forcibly deny Iran the means to make an atomic bomb if it refuses to suspend uranium enrichment and has criticized Russia for agreeing to supply to Tehran S-300 anti-aircraft weapons that could complicate an attack.

In an interview with CNN recorded on Tuesday, Medvedev denied Moscow was backing Iran but said it had the right to supply defensive weapons and said sanctions against Tehran should only be used as a last resort.

An attack would lead to "a humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well," Medvedev said, according to a Kremlin transcript.

"But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them."

During a meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi in August, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel would not attack Iran, Medvedev said. After the meeting, Peres told journalists Medvedev had promised to reconsider a contract to sell S-300s to Iran.

"When he visited me in Sochi, Israeli President Peres said something important for us all: 'Israel does not plan to launch any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," Medvedev said.

Asked about the possible delivery of S-300s, Medvedev said Russia had the right to sell defensive weapons to Iran.   Continued...

 
<p>Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gestures as he speaks with members of the Valdai discussion group in GUM department store in Moscow September 15, 2009. REUTERS/Ria Novosti/Kremlin/Dmitry Astakhov</p>