Monday, August 14, 2017

Israeli intelligence chief says Iran filling voids left by ISIS in Syria

voids left by ISIS in Syria
Israel's intelligence chief on Sunday warned against "Iranian expansion" into regions in the Middle East that the Islamic State group has relinquished.

"The areas where IS presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void," Mossad head, Yossi Cohen, said during a security briefing at the cabinet's weekly meeting in Jerusalem.

Cohen told the ministers that Iran is expanding through its proxies and local allies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

According to Cohen, Iran has not given up its aspirations to become a nuclear power and that the nuclear agreement signed between the world powers and Iran only "reinforces Iranian aggression in the region."

Cohen said that the agreement led to improvement in Iran's economic growth.

His security assessment is in line with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stand on Iran. The hawkish politician has been a vocal opponent of the nuclear deal.

On Sunday, Netanyahu responded to Cohen's presentation by saying that the Mossad's assessment provides a clear proof that signing the agreement was fundamentally wrong.

Israel worries that Iran will base its forces near the Syrian border in Israel, creating an Iranian stronghold next to the Jewish state.

Netanyahu has called on Russian and US leaders not to allow Iranian presence in Syria in the framework of a possible cease-fire agreement to end Syria's eight-year-long civil war.

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