Speaking to reporters on Sunday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Israel has “an absolute right to defend itself” against Iran, which according to him is behind incidents throughout the Middle East. “It is interesting that everywhere we find trouble in the Middle East, you find the same thing behind it,” Mattis said.







James Mattis

James Mattis Photo Credit: US Department of Defense/ Wikimedia Commons

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis addressed the recent developments in northern Israel and Iran’s presence in the region in an interview with reporters on Sunday.  Mattis emphasized that Israel has “an absolute right to defend itself” against Iran. “They don’t have to wait until their citizens are dying under attack before they actually address that issue,” he added.

The Defense Secretary spoke of Iran’s efforts to exert influence throughout the Middle East and claimed the country is behind various incidents around the region. “It is interesting that everywhere we find trouble in the Middle East, you find the same thing behind it. Whether it be in Yemen or Beirut, or in Syria, in Iraq, you always find Iran engaged,” Mattis said. “If you’re in Bahrain, and the police there have captured explosives and that sort of thing, clearly from Iran; if you’re picking up debris in Saudi Arabia of Iranian missiles; or you’ve got explosive boats, remote-controlled boats, out in the Red Sea, you can see where Iran is either producing the wherewithal for the fight or actually leading the fight, in some case.”

The US has recently expressed concern regarding the escalation along Israel’s northern border. In a statement on Saturday, the State Department said that Iran’s ambitions place the region’s people at risk. “The US continues to push back on the totality of Iran’s malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability,” read the statement by spokesperson Heather Nauert