Pompeo: Israel a ‘Key Partner, Not a Problem’ in Fight Against Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during his weekly briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, on September 2, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / POOL / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Israel is a key partner in fighting Iran and not the problem, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

“We recognize the violent nature of the revolutionary Iranian regime, and we understand that when it comes to countering Tehran and many other important issues, Israel is a key partner, and not a problem,” Pompeo  said at the virtual opening of the first U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue.

His remarks come in the wake of the assassination of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons mastermind Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday, which Tehran alleged Israel was behind.

Pompeo called Iran “the number one threat to the Gulf’s security and to peace-loving people throughout the entire region.”

Apparent president-elect Joe Biden has said he would revert to the Obama-led 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, from which President Donald Trump pulled out in May 2018. The deal would have seen Iran acquire the nuclear bomb by 2030.

Biden has said he would seek changes to the so-called sunset clause.

According to leaked diplomatic cables, Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in October to reconsider his maximum pressure campaign against Iran, in particular his sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s banks, arguing that the move would damage legitimate humanitarian trade, the Reuters news wire reported Tuesday.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, who also attended the U.S.-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue, called on the U.S. to continue exerting maximum pressure on Iran.

It is “essential that the international community maintains its resolve to recognize and confront such behavior, with unrelenting pressure on Iran to become a responsible actor,” Zayani said in his opening remarks.

“We want our partnership with the US to be an integral part of this process, in exposing the ongoing challenges of the theocratic [Iranian] regime and its proxies, but also ensuring Bahrain and other regional allies continue to have the capabilities to effectively protect their people against such threats,” he said.

Zayani thanked the U.S. for paving the way for the tiny Gulf kingdom to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and “a genuine, warm peace.”

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