Pompeo criticizes Iran nuclear deal during Middle East trip

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. left. embraces  Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Sunday in Tel Aviv.
Caption
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. left. embraces Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Sunday in Tel Aviv.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Iran as "the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world" during a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday, CNN reported.

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Later, in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamiin Netanyahu, Pompeo said the U.S. was concerned with Iran's "destabilizing and malign activities," Reuters reported.

Pompeo was in the middle of a whirlwind trip to NATO in Brussels and the Middle East, and joked to Netanyahu that he has not even visited his own office in Washington yet, Reuters reported.

Pompeo was emphatic in advancing President Donald Trump’s position on Iran and nuclear weapons.

“We are determined to make sure (Iran) never possesses a nuclear weapon," Pompeo said during his meeting with al-Jubeir. "The Iran deal in its current form does not provide that assurance.

"We will continue to work with our European allies to fix that deal. But if a deal cannot be reached, the president has said that he will leave that deal."

In Tel Aviv, Pompeo said the United States remains “Deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats towards Israel and the region.”

“Strong cooperation with close allies like (Israel) is critical to our efforts to counter Iran’s destabilizing and malign activities through the Middle East, and indeed, throughout the world,” Pompeo said.

Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to continue waiving sanctions that were lifted under the Iran deal, CNN reported.