'The United States Is with Israel in This Fight': Pompeo Joins Netanyahu Against Iran
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JERUSALEM, Israel – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Jordan Sunday evening on the last leg of his trip to the Middle East, which included stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, where he'll meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II.
It was Pompeo's first trip abroad in his new position. His theme throughout the region has been stopping Iran.
Pompeo's message on Iran was clear.
"We remain deeply concerned about Iran's dangerous escalation, threats to Israel and the region, and Iran's position to dominate the Middle East remains," he said. "The United States is with Israel in this fight and we strongly support Israel's sovereign right to defend itself," he said.
In a joint statement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following their meeting late Sunday afternoon, Pompeo said the words Israel wanted to hear about the Iranian nuclear deal.
"President Trump was pretty clear," he said. "This deal was very flawed. He's directed the administration to fix it and if we can't fix it, he's going to withdraw from it. He's pretty straightforward."
Netanyahu said Iran had only become more aggressive since the Iranian nuclear deal was signed.
"People thought Iran's aggression would be moderated as a result of signing the deal. The opposite has happened and Iran is trying to gobble up one country after the other. Iran must be stopped. Its quest for nuclear bombs must be stopped. Its aggression must be stopped, and we're committed to stopping it together," Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile overnight, Syria accused Israel of airstrikes on several military bases used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.
According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, at least 26 fighters were killed.
"At least 26 fighters were killed, including four Syrians," The Times of Israel quoted the organization's head Rami Abdel Rahman. "The others are foreign fighters, a vast majority of the Iranians."
According to the report, Rahman said "given the nature of the target, it is likely to have been an Israeli strike," noting that an airbase in Aleppo housing surface-to-surface missiles was also hit.
One source reported the blasts were powerful enough to register as a 2.6 earthquake on the Richter scale.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel would respond forcefully if it or its aircraft were attacked. Israel has three problems, he said. "Iran, Iran and Iran."
Pompeo said President Trump has a comprehensive strategy to deal with the entire Iranian threat.
"We are also working to counter the broad set of non-nuclear threats, missile systems, its support for Hezbollah, the importation of thousands of proxy fighters into Syria and its assistance to the Houthi rebels in Yemen," he said.
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Netanyahu and Pompeo met just two weeks before the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.
US Consulate in Jerusalem, Photo, CBN News
"We look forward to welcoming the American delegation and to celebrate the relocation of the embassy with you, Ambassador Friedman. The decision by President Trump has prompted other countries – quite a few now – who are planning to move their embassy to Jerusalem as well," Netanyahu said.
"We are incredibly proud to be opening the new embassy on May 14, well ahead of the original timetable," Pompeo said. "By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we're recognizing reality."
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