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Tensions between the United States and Russia in Syria are heating up, but Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) says the "core problem" in the region is Iran.

On "America's Newsroom" today, Peters explained that the Iranians are trying to expand their influence in the Middle East in an effort to recreate the Persian Empire of 2,500 years ago.

"It is empire-building," Peters said. "And the most important thing that we in the West fail to recognize is they're good at strategy and they have a master plan. They have a vision."


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He explained that Russia's threat about targeting any U.S. jet flying west of the Euphrates River is just a "bluff," and neither the U.S. nor the Russians actually want to fight.

He pointed out that fight is exactly what Iran wants.

"We don't really want to fight the Russians. Who wants us to fight? The Iranians do," Peters said. "The Iranians have been masters at manipulating the Russians."

He said Iran's goal is to have the U.S. out of the Middle East, so they can establish a "vast sphere of influence" in the region.

"Look beyond the Russians," Peters concluded. "Look at Iran. Iran is the core problem."

See more from Peters above, and watch Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) weigh in on the situation in Syria below.


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