Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Monday, the Kremlin announced Friday. It will be Putin’s first visit to Iran since 2007. The trip will reportedly cover “issues in bilateral negotiations, including atomic energy, oil and gas and military-technical cooperation.” On November 9, the chief executive of Russia’s state-owned defense corporation Rostec announced that Moscow and Tehran had signed an agreement for the delivery to Iran of the S-300 missile defense system. According to The Times of Israel, analysts have suggested that the S-300 “could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.”
Russia and Iran have both been stalwart supporters of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Before Russia announced an intensified intervention in Syria in late September, Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, met with top Russian officials in Moscow to coordinate the two countries’ efforts in propping up Assad. A Russian military map displayed on Russian state television this past Tuesday seemed to indicate the presence of a Russian artillery unit in central Syria and on Friday there were reports of Russian bombing in Idlib and Hama provinces, which are strategically important to the Assad regime but devoid of an ISIS presence.
Earlier this week, Russia submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council suggesting that Assad be included in the anti-ISIS coalition, a suggestion that has been rejected by London and Washington. Secretary of State John Kerry has said unequivocally, “Assad has cut his own deal with Daesh. They sell oil. He buys oil. They are symbiotic, not real enemies in this. [ISIS headquarters] was never bombed by his bombs. It was children and women and hospitals and schools that were bombed by his bombs.”
Schwartz, 18, was one of three people killed Thursday near the settlement of Alon Shvut. He reportedly was studying for a year at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh.Schwartz was killed when an Arab armed with an Uzi submachine gun opened fire on cars stuck in a traffic jam. Schwartz had been delivering food to soldiers at the time of the attack. Two men, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, were also fatally shot, while five other American students were injured.
He was a recent graduate of the Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and had been a counselor at Camp Yavneh, a Jewish summer camp in Northwood, New Hampshire.
Schwartz is the second of five children, a family friend in Sharon told JTA. One of Schwartz’s favorite pastimes was skiing.
In total, five people were killed in two terror attacks on Thursday. In addition to the shooting, two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv. “We condemn these terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the strongest possible terms,” said State Department spokesman Edward Vasquez.