Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Russia today to discuss ongoing talks between Iran and world powers to reach a nuclear proliferation deal.
The P5+1 allies, which includes the US and Russia, are said to be on the brink of clinching a deal that would see an easing of economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for a reduction in its enrichment of uranium.
It is a deal Israel staunchly rejects.
Netanyahu is rumored to be in Russia, a steadfast supporter of the deal, to encourage President Vladimir Putin to help customize an impending agreement so it might better serve the security of the Jewish state.
“Our job is to try to sway the Russians, as we have been doing with all the players,” Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who accompanied Netanyahu to Moscow, told Israel Radio.
“Russia is not going to adopt Israeli positions wholesale. But any movement, even small, in the Russian position can affect the negotiations.”
A third round of talks are scheduled to begin today between the Islamic republic and the P5+1 powers, which also includes France, the UK, China and Germany. The proposed interim deal fell through last week after France refused to give it a pass.
Some Israelis, however, are skeptical over how much help can be expected from Russia, which has a historic relationship with Iran.
“Russia and China were the ones that, until now, did not take action to increase sanctions. It was very hard to enlist them to impose sanctions on Iran,” Israeli security cabinet member Tzipi Livni told Israel Radio.
“Therefore it is hard for me to see how, suddenly today, they could be the ones to demand that the world be firmer with the Iranians.”
The current plan would allow Iran to enrich uranium to 3.5 percent. Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program an existential threat.