Mossad chief: Iran increasing presence in former ISIS strongholds

Mossad chief: Iran increasing presence in former ISIS strongholds”

The director of Israel's global espionage agency, the Mossad, warned the cabinet at its weekly meeting on Sunday that Iran is increasing its control over the Middle East.

Cohen added that Iran has not abandoned its nuclear aspiration and that the agreement between the West and Iran has only increased its hopes and strengthened the Iranian aggression in the region.

Iran is filling the vacuum left by the Islamic State (ISIS) as its hold on territory in Syria and Iraq diminishes, Mossad director Yossi Cohen warned.

Referring the ceasefire deal brokered by the United States and Russian Federation last month regarding southern Syria, Cohen reportedly said that Israel's demand that Iranian and other Shiite forces leave the area had not been accepted.

Yossi Cohen said in his briefing that through its proxy groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, where its presence is limited, the Islamic Republic is "working to fill the void".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Cohen's presentation by noting "that Israel is in no way beholden to global treaties signed by Iran", the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Iran's economy received a new infusion as a result of the recent global agreements, he said.

Cohen's remarks came as Iranian lawmakers on Sunday overwhelmingly voted to approve a bill allotting $2.5 billion to the IRGC Quds Force, the unit entrusted with the regime's subversive activities overseas.

Sunday's report by Fars news agency also noted that Aerospace Force Brigadier General, Amir Ali Hajizadeh made similar remarks last week regarding visits to Iranian military sites by officials from the U.S. and other western countries. Tehran has repeatedly claimed that its military capacity is "defensive in nature" and poses no threat to other countries.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said the government fully supports the new law passed by the parliament against the U.S. terrorist and adventurous measures in the region, describing it as a "wise" and "appropriate" move against Washington's enmities towards Iran.

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