Mossad chief warns Iran taking over territory relinquished by ISIS

Iran is moving in to fill vacuums in regions in the Middle East created by the retreat of Islamic State, Mossad head Yossi Cohen told the cabinet on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.

The Mossad head warned that Iran’s expansion in the region through its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen is currently the central development in the Middle East.
In addition, Cohen said that Iran has not given up on its ambitions to become a “nuclear threshold” state, and that the Iranian nuclear deal only increases this tendency and “’strengthens Iran’s aggressiveness in the region.”

Cohen said that since the deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – was adopted in 2015, Iran’s has entered a period of economic growth, and that Tehran’s recent agreements with international firms are strengthening the Islamic Republic’s economy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was an ardent opponent of the JCPOA, said that the recent developments are additional proof that the premises that underlined the deal were mistaken. One of those premises was that the deal would moderate Iran’s behavior in the region.

Netanyahu stressed that Israel was not obligated to any international agreement with Iran. “Israel will continue to work with determination and in a variety of ways to protect itself from these threats,” he said.

The cabinet discussion on Iran comes just three days after US President Donald Trump said that Iran is not “living up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal, adding again that he believes the deal to be a “horrible agreement.”

“I don’t think they’re living up to the spirit of the agreement,” Trump told reporters. “I personally don’t think they’re in compliance. But we have time, and we’re going to see.”

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