Pompeo hits ground running, rallies allies against Iran’s regional aggression, missile program

Three days after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on April 29 that U.S. President Donald Trump has “a comprehensive Iran plan that is designed to counter the full array of threats emanating from Teheran.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on April 28. / SPA

In his first foreign trip in his new role, former CIA Director Pompeo said the United States was “deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region.”

Pompeo is also calling on the U.S.’s European allies and others to impose sanctions on Iran to curb its missile program, a senior adviser to the secretary of state said on April 28.

“We are urging nations around the world to sanction any individuals and entities associated with Iran’s missile program, and it has also been a big part of discussions with Europeans,” Brian Hook, was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters in Riyadh.

During a trip that included stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan, his first after being confirmed as secretary of state, Pompeo said Iran “is an arms dealer to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and conducts cyberhacking campaigns. And it supports the murderous Assad regime. Unlike the prior administration we will not neglect the vast scope of Iran’s terrorism.”

Trump has set a deadline of May 12 to repair the Iran nuclear deal or the U.S. may withdraw from the accord.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, have agreed the nuclear deal is the best way of stopping Teheran from gaining nuclear weapons, May’s office said in a statement on April 29.

However, the leaders agreed the deal may need to be broadened to cover other areas such as ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, the statement said.

“They committed to continue working closely together and with the U.S. on how to tackle the range of challenges that Iran poses – including those issues that a new deal might cover,” the statement said.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Trump has not yet decided whether to leave the deal.

“He is certainly considering the framework, the four pillars that [French President Emmanuel Macron] laid out in their meetings last week,” Bolton said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

“And that I think is something that is of interest to the president and worth pursuing, but in terms specifically of the nuclear deal, there’s no decision on that yet,” he continued.

Bolton added there was still hope for European partners looking to convince Trump to amend the agreement rather than simply walk away from it.

“He’s certainly said very negative things about the deal, which implied that these other steps wouldn’t really address that concern, but it’s possible in the discussions with our European allies that we will be able to see some possibility there,” Bolton said.

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