Liberman heads to US to discuss 'Iran's expansion'

Israeli Defense Minister to discuss Iranian aggression in Syria and across Middle East as deadline to decide fate of Iran nuclear deal looms


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
Marc Israel Sellem/Fash90

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman 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, Liberman will meet Defense 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 defense 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 program.

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 program that could be used to develop an atomic weapon.