Haley: US priority is to ensure Iran does not take over Syria

Deterring Iran’s entrenchment in Syria is one of US President Donald Trump’s top three priorities there, guiding his policy on where to station troops in the war-torn country and for how long, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Sunday.

Her statement comes amid reports of strains between the Trump administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the US role in providing a buffer between Iranian troops and Israel’s border. Trump in recent weeks has vowed to pull US troops out of Syria entirely, prompting alarm in Jerusalem that Israel’s fight against Iran would be waged alone.

Netanyahu, in a telephone conversation Saturday evening with British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country joined the US and France in Saturday’s missile strike on Syria, stressed that Iran is the leading source of instability in the region, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad needs to understand that when he lets Iran build a permanent presence for itself and its proxies in Syria, he is endangering Syria and the entire region.

Netanyahu discussed his phone conversation with May at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. He said he told her the same resolve the US, Britain and France showed in standing up to Assad’s use of chemical weapons now needs to be shown in preventing terrorist states and organizations from getting nuclear capabilities.

Trump has given the European powers – France, Britain and Germany – until May 12 to fix the Iranian nuclear agreement that was signed in 2015. He has warned that if it is not satisfactorily altered, he will walk away from the deal.

Israel fully supports Trump’s decision to act against Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Netanyahu reiterated, adding that Jerusalem welcomes the French and British participation in the mission.

He said he told May that “the important international message that was given with the attack was zero tolerance for the use of nonconventional weapons.”

Haley, in interviews with news shows on Sunday morning, touted the success of the joint strike that sought to punish Assad for his use of chlorine and sarin gases against civilians in the town of Douma on April 7.

The strike was prompted by the president’s commitment to prevent the normalization of chemical-weapons use, she said, calling it a top priority of his administration.

Source » jpost

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