April 29 (UPI) — Mike Pompeo called Iran the world’s “greatest sponsor of terrorism” in Saudi Arabia on Sunday during his first foreign trip as the secretary of state.
Pompeo, who was confirmed by Congress as the top diplomat last week, also repeated President Donald Trump’s threat to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran if it isn’t reworked.
“We are determined to make sure [Iran] never possesses a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo said at a joint news conference in Riyadh with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. “The Iran deal in its current form does not provide that assurance.”
Pompeo, who arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, met with King Salman and his 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed.
The former CIA director pledged his support to the Saudis “with its defense needs.”
“America is prepared to stand with Saudi Arabia” Pompeo said. “The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush terrorism for them.”
Jubeir also backs the U.S. opposition to the nuclear agreement in 2015 between Iran and the U.S. and five other world powers. In return for curtailing Iran’s nuclear program, the Middle East nation avoids international sanctions.
“Unlike the prior administration, we will not neglect the vast scope of Iran’s terrorism. It is indeed the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Pompeo said during the news conference. “Iran has only behaved worse since the deal was approved.”
He said Iran is carrying out cyberhacking campaigns, arming Houthi rebels in Yemen with missiles fired at Saudi Arbabia and backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “murderous regime.”
“We are determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo said. “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.”
As required by Congress, the president has to recertify the agreement every few months. Trump has set May 12 as a deadline.
Later Sunday, Pompea arrivals in Tel Aviv, Israel, to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. On Monday, he plans to end the trip in Amman, Jordan. On Friday, he visited Brussels, Belgium, where he met with NATO allies.