TEL AVIV (Sputnik) — Iran does not have a military presence in Syria now and Israel's goal is to prevent its appearance in the country, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.
"There are no [Iranians] in Syria, contrary to what is being said. Yes, there is a pool of experts, advisers and so one there. Iran has not been present in Syria so far and our main goal is to prevent [Iran] from being present as a real military force," Lieberman said in an interview with Russian-language Channel 9, an Israel broadcaster, adding that Iran had not managed to establish its own military bases in Syria.
"Iran wanted to set up its own ports, sea and airports, military bases next to Russia. They have not managed to do that either," Lieberman said.
Saudi Arabia has long had a difficult relationship with Shia Iran but a full-blown power struggle has developed between the two in recent months.
Meanwhile, Iran and Saudi Arabia have clashed recently over Lebanon and Tehran has also been accused of supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.