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Putin urges restraint in call with Raisi amid Iran-Israel escalating tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow in 2023 (Photo: Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for restraint amid escalating tensions following Iran’s weekend drone and missile attack on Israel, Al Jazeera reported.

Putin conveyed his message during a phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday, focusing on “retaliatory measures taken by Iran” in response to an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus earlier on April 1.

In the call, Putin stressed the importance of avoiding actions that could lead to further confrontation and potentially catastrophic outcomes for the Middle East. The Kremlin emphasised Putin’s hope for all parties to exercise restraint.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel late on Saturday in response to the Israeli strike in Damascus, which killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two generals.

Following Iran’s attack, Putin commented on the root cause of instability in the region, highlighting the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as reported by Al Jazeera.

“Vladimir Putin expressed hope that all sides would show reasonable restraint and prevent a new round of confrontation fraught with catastrophic consequences for the entire region,” the Kremlin said.

“Ebrahim Raisi noted that Iran’s actions were forced and limited in nature,” the Kremlin said. “At the same time, he stressed Tehran’s disinterest in the further escalation of tensions.”

Raisi expressed gratitude towards Russia for its support regarding Iran’s response to Israel and pointed to the perceived inaction of the international community and certain Western nations, which Iran believes compelled its recent operation.

The Iranian presidency reiterated Raisi’s stance that any action against Iran’s interests would warrant a significant response.

Russia, known for its close relationships with Iran’s leadership and various Arab states, has consistently criticised the West for overlooking the necessity of an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, Al Jazeera reported.

“Both sides stated that the root cause of the current events in the Middle East is the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the Kremlin said of the call with Raisi.

“In this regard, the principled approaches of Russia and Iran in favour of an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, easing the difficult humanitarian situation, and creating conditions for a political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis were confirmed.”

Putin, who was in Iran in 2022, congratulated Raisi and the Muslim community on the conclusion of Ramazan, Al Jazeera reported.