Presidents Nicholas Sarkozy of France and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia

France called on Russia Thursday not to complete the sale of advanced air defense missiles to Iran.

Meanwhile in Israel, the dust has not yet settled over the secret visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow on Monday, reportedly over the same issue. Thursday, the Russian daily Kommersant quoted Kremlin sources as confirming Netanyahu’s visit to the Russian capital.

The newspaper added that Netanyahu’s visit was meant to update Russian officials on Israel’s intentions to move toward "action" in its handling of the Iranian nuclear issue, as a result of new intelligence on Tehran’s program. The Prime Minister’s Bureau continued to refuse comment on Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow.

France’s statement was made in view of a similar Israeli request made earlier, and probably repeated by Netanyahu during his Moscow visit. A spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry told reporters that France is in regular contact with Russia and has expressed concern about the export of such a weapons system to Iran, which Paris believes would “undermine” stability in the Middle East.

The French diplomat stressed the fact that United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1747 and 1737 call on the international community to avoid the sale of arms to Iran, either directly or indirectly.

As far as France is concerned, the diplomat said, there is an absolute embargo on the sale of arms to Iran. The French message to Russia is the second time in two weeks that Paris has backed Israel on Iran.