00:35 GMT +317 December 2018
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    U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, center, talks to Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman prior to the Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany

    Mattis, Israel Defense Chief Meet to Discuss Iran’s "Destabilizing" Activities

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met at the Pentagon on Thursday to discuss Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region among other issues of mutual concern.

    "Our continued military-to-military cooperation is critical to making a stable and secure Middle East a reality, especially in the face of Iran intent on spreading its malign influence across the region," Mattis said during the meeting on Wednesday.

    Lieberman explained that Iran possesses the greatest threat to the stability in the Middle East and its malign activities have undermined stability in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He also noted Iran’s nuclear ambitions have caused instability.

    Mattis said during the meeting that the United States has not yet made a decision on whether it will withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.

    Mattis was asked whether he agreed with Israel’s assessment that a weapons shipment from Iran to Syria was made for the purpose of striking Israel to which the defense secretary replied he cannot think of any other purpose those weapons would be used for.

    The defense secretary added that Russia must work with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to find a way toward achieving a more stable Middle East.

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    meeting, US Department of Defense (DoD), Jim Mattis, Avigdor Lieberman, Iran, Israel, United States
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