Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 137

Russian missile technology transfers to Iran were also said to be the main subject of talks this week between Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) director Nikolai Kovalev and top Israeli political, military and security officials. According to an Israeli newspaper, Kovalev arrived in Israel on July 13 and was expected to remain there for five days. He and a delegation of eight Russian security and intelligence officials were scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai and Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky (who also oversees relations with Russia). Kovalev’s is the first ever visit to Israel by a top Russian security chief.

During talks in Jerusalem yesterday between Kovalev and Mordechai, Israel reportedly renewed its demand that Russia stop aiding Iran’s ballistic missile development program. According to Israeli officials, Mordechai said that Israel was interested in building “open and serious relations” with Moscow, but that progress in this area could occur only if Moscow stopped aiding the Iranian missile development program. Mordechai reiterated Israel’s claim that the development by Iran of non-conventional weapons and long-range missiles would endanger the security not only of Israel, but of all other countries in the Middle East. Although Russian-Iranian missile cooperation was apparently the main item on the agenda in yesterday’s talks, the two sides reportedly also discussed the battle against organized crime and terrorism. (Russian agencies, July 15-16; Russian TV, Xinhua, July 16)