Israeli minister heads to US to discuss Iran ‘expansion’

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, pictured on April 20, 2018, will meet Defence Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser John Bolton and members of the Senate
AFP

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman is travelling to the United States for talks Wednesday on countering Iran’s “expansion” across the Middle East, especially in Syria, his office said.

During his visit, Lieberman will meet Defence Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser John Bolton and members of the Senate, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Discussions will focus on the close security coordination between Israeli and American defence establishments against negative developments resulting from Iranian expansion in the Middle East, with an emphasis on Syria and additional mutual security concerns,” it added.

The visit comes ahead of a May 12 deadline US President Donald Trump has set to decide on the fate of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump has derided the deal as a capitulation to Tehran, saying it is no longer in the US’s interest to maintain the sanctions relief granted to Iran by his predecessor Barack Obama in return for controls on its nuclear programme. 

During a visit to Washington on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called jointly with Trump for a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump’s European allies have repeatedly tried to persuade him not to walk away from the 2015 deal, which gave Iran massive sanctions relief and the guarantee of a civilian nuclear program in return for curbs on programmes that could be used to develop an atomic weapon.

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