Iran is the top threat in the Middle East and confronting it is key to reaching peace in the entire region, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday at a Warsaw security conference.
Mr. Pompeo made his observation as he stood with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the opening session at the conference. He warned “pushing back” against Iran was central to dealing with all the region’s other problems.
“You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible,” Mr. Pompeo said in response to opening remarks by the Israeli leader.
Mr. Netanyahu applauded the participation of high-profile Arab dignitaries at the conference, saying it signaled a shift in regional priorities by focussing on the Islamic republic and its governing regime in Tehran.
“In a room of some 60 foreign ministers, an Israeli prime minister and the foreign ministers of leading Arab countries stood together, and spoke with unusual force, clarity and unity against a common threat of the Iranian regime,” he said before his meeting with Mr. Pompeo. “I think this marks a change, an important understanding of what threatens our future.”
Iran has denounced the conference as an American anti-Iran “circus” while Russia has refused to send any envoys.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is attending along with representatives from numerous Arab countries. France and Germany have snubbed the gathering, while European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is staying away.
Poland is taking another leading role of worldwide significance as it hosts the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. Thank you for taking this strong stand in support of peace, prosperity & the advance of human rights across the Middle East. pic.twitter.com/zaYQTqvNlT
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 13, 2019
Topics under discussion include Israeli-Palestinian peace, conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and global trade with Iran following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
After the Mideast conference in Warsaw, Mr. Pompeo will wrap up his trip with brief stops in Brussels and Rekjaivik, Iceland, on Friday.
AP contributed to this report
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