Israeli defence minister heading to US for Iran talks

Israeli defence minister heading to US for Iran talks
Iran hawk Avigdor Lieberman has threatened to strike Russia's anti-aircraft missiles in Syria and is building an international alliance against Iran.
2 min read
24 April, 2018
Lieberman is a fierce critic of Iran [Getty]

Israel's hawkish Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman is travelling to the US to discuss ways to tackle Iran's "expansion" in the region, his office announced on Wednesday.

Lieberman will meet Iran critics Defence Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser John Bolton during his visit, Israel's foreign ministry said.

"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," the ministry added in a statement.

Israel has been increasingly hostile to Iran's role in Syria's war, where Tehran is aiding Bashar al-Assad's regime and using the conflict to build up its military presence in the country.

Israel has launched a number of attacks on Iranian positions in Syria, with the strikes becoming increasingly more audacious in recent months.  

Lieberman warned Russia on Tuesday that plans to deploy S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria could lead to an Israeli response.

"One thing should be clear - if someone fires on our planes, we will destroy them," Lieberman told Israel website Ynet

"What's important to us is that the weapons defence systems that the Russians transfer to Syria are not used against us. If they are used against us, we will act against them." 

The visit comes just two weeks a head of US President Donald Trump's decision on whether to continue with a nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump has insisted he will not maintain sanctions relief, which were part of the deal and the 12 May deadline could see the agreement effectively end. 

Despite European backing for the agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a new nuclear deal with Iran during a press conference with Trump at the White House.

Israel has also been fiercly critical of the deal.

Agencies contributed to this deal.