Intelligence Minister Katz: Israel will not agree to permanent Iranian military presence in Syria

During an interview with Reuters in Washington, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said that Israel wants to reach an understanding with the White House about the possibility of Iran establishing a permanent military presence in Syria.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Flash 90

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz was interviewed on Wednesday night by Reuters during his Washington visit. He said that he plans to meet with U.S. lawmakers and White House officials and convince them to impose additional sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah. Katz also said that Israel is interested in reaching an understanding with the Trump administration regarding the possibility of Iran establishing a permanent military presence in Syria.

“I want to achieve an understanding, an agreement, between the U.S. and Israel ... not to let Iran have permanent military forces in Syria, by air, by land, by sea,” Katz said. He also praised the U.S. missile strike three weeks ago against a Syrian airbase: “It was important morally and strategically.”

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Katz said that such an understanding needs to be part of the future international agreement that will hopefully put an end to the Syrian civil war. Katz said that Israel does not want the U.S. to send more forces to Syria and that this understanding can be achieved “by talking to the Russians, by threatening Iran, by sanctions and other things.”

Katz’s visit to Washington came just a week after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran of launching “alarming and ongoing provocations” that are destabilizing the countries in the Middle East.

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