The head of the Mossad has warned that Iran intends to step up its supply of advanced weaponry to Russia.
David Barnea added that the spy agency had warned in advance that Iran would support Russia in its war against Ukraine.
“Iranian weapons did indeed land in the hands of the Russians at the start of the war in Ukraine,” he said.
“We are warning against Iran’s future intentions, which they are trying to keep secret, to deepen and expand the supply of advanced weapons to Russia, to expand the uranium enrichment project and to intensify their attacks against friendly Muslim countries in the region,” Mr Barnea said during a ceremony at the president’s residence in Jerusalem marking the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
He noted that over the past few months Iran has “intensified and increased its attempts to carry out terror attacks, which we thwart on a daily basis, the world over”.
And he pledged to ensure that “Iran will never have nuclear weapons. This is the Mossad’s commitment.”
Tehran denies western claims that it is providing Russia with offensive weapons, most notably Shahed suicide drones.
Mr Barnea was also critical of western leaders, who he accused of pursuing an “absurd” agreement with Iran. Earlier this year, a nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers appeared imminent, but a dispute over suspected undeclared Iranian nuclear sites stalled the negotiations.
Iran’s brutal crackdown on nationwide protests in recent months has made a new deal unlikely at this juncture.
Addressing the protests, he said the demonstrations have not abated.
“We have clear proof that the ongoing protests are challenging the Iranian regime. We are seeing clearly that the allegedly strong regime is surprised and afraid,” he said. “Is this the country that the free world wants to sign any agreement with?”
Despite the reports of expanding military co-operation between Moscow and Tehran, Israel is keen to maintain friendly bilateral relations with Russia, partly because of the large Jewish community in the country and also because Israel needs Russia’s approval to maintain its freedom of action in the skies over Syria.
Incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who phoned Mr Netanyahu on Thursday to congratulate him on his election victory and send good wishes for the Hanukkah holiday.
“There is mutual confidence that Russian-Israeli relations will continue to develop progressively, and contacts at various levels will continue,” the Russian foreign ministry said after the call.
Mr Netanyahu emphasised that Israel was determined to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon and to stop it from entrenching its forces over Israel’s northern border in Syria.