Moscow …. (SaebPress)…Russia has warned that it would consider any NATO military action against Iran a ‘direct threat’ to its national security.
“Iran is our neighbour, and if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security,” Russia’s outgoing ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told reporters in the Belgian capital Brussels on Friday.
“We are definitely interested in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But at the same time, we believe that any country has the right to have what it needs to feel comfortable, including Iran.”
The comments come one day after the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev, warned about the Israeli lobby’s efforts to drag the United States into a military confrontation with Iran.
“There is a likelihood of a military conflict escalation, to which the Americans are being pushed by Israel,” Patrushev said in an interview with Interfax on Thursday.
Syria is much more important than Libya from Russia’s point of view
Meanwhile Russia received information that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO and some Persian Gulf countries are preparing military intervention in Syria, the head of the Russian Security Council said.
Turkey, a NATO member, may play a key role, Nikolai Patrushev, who used to head the country’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, told Interfax in comments confirmed by his office. The U.S. and Turkey are working on a possible no-fly zone to protect Syrian rebels, Patrushev said.
“We are receiving information that NATO members and some Persian Gulf states, working under the ‘Libyan scenario’, intend to move from indirect intervention in Syria to direct military intervention,” the Russian security chief said.
Russia, which has Soviet-era ties with Syria, argues that United Nations-sanctioned bombing of Libya by NATO to protect civilians was used to bring about regime change and that Western governments are trying to repeat that scenario in Syria.
The West is putting pressure on Syria because the country refuses to break off its alliance with Iran and not for repressing the opposition, said Patrushev, who served with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the Soviet-era KGB.
“This time, it won’t be France, the U.K. and Italy that will provide the main strike forces, but perhaps neighbouring Turkey, which was until recently on good terms with Syria and is a rival of Iran with immense ambitions,” Patrushev said.
Russia may have obtained intelligence about Western military plans in Syria or may be sending a signal that it will actively oppose any such efforts, said Fyodor Lukyanov, an analyst at the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy in Moscow.
“After the Libyan experience, Russia will do everything to stop this scenario from happening, Syria is much more important than Libya from Russia’s point of view,” said Fyodor Lukyanov.