Liberman to Mattis: Iran constitutes ‘biggest threat’ to Middle East

While meeting with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stressed that Iran presents the greatest threat to the Middle East. Earlier this week, Liberman met with other top US officials to discuss the situation in the region.
Mattis and Liberman Photo Credit: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis sat down with his Israeli counterpart on Thursday at the Pentagon to discuss the current situation and threats in the Middle East. In comments made in front of reporters, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told Mattis that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and influence in several Arab countries are the “biggest threat to all stability in the Middle East.”

Liberman also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate America’s embassy to Jerusalem, praising it as a historic declaration.

When a reporter asked Mattis whether he believes that Iran shipped weapons to Syria for a strike against Israel, the American official said: “I can’t think of any other purpose for them right now.” Mattis was also asked whether the US plans to withdraw from the nuclear deal. “We have not made a decision on that yet,” he responded.

Watch: Mattis and Liberman in Washington

On Wednesday, Liberman met with members of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee. “I thanked the senators…for their support in maintaining the IDF’s qualitative advantage,” Liberman tweeted. “I was pleased to meet friends of Israel who care about our security.”

The top Israeli defense official recently told a Saudi-owned newspaper that Tehran would pay a high price if it attacks Israel. “If Iran attacks Tel Aviv, Israel will strike Tehran and destroy every Iranian military facility in Syria that threatens Israel—regardless of the price,” Liberman said, according to Saudi Arabia’s Elaph newspaper, headquartered in London.



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