Pompeo says Iran is trying to ‘foment terror’ during pandemic

Pompeo is also expected to cover issues like Iran and Israel’s trade relations with China. (Twitter pic/SecPompeo)

JERUSALEM: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of using its resources to “foment terror” even as its people face the Middle East’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak.

“Even during this pandemic the Iranians are using the ayatollah regime’s resources to foment terror across the world, even when the people of Iran are struggling so mightily,” Pompeo said in Jerusalem ahead of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It tells you a lot about the soul of those people who lead that country,” he added.

The trip to Israel was Pompeo’s first abroad in nearly two months amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US top diplomat wore a red, white and blue mask as he descended from his plane in Tel Aviv, but he and Netanyahu were without masks when they met at the premier’s office.

Netanyahu said that Pompeo’s one-day visit was “a testament to the strength of our alliance.”

He also praised Washington’s continuing pressure on Iran, a country he claimed was persisting with its “aggressive designs and its aggressive actions against Americans, Israelis and everyone else in the region.”

Pompeo and Netanyahu were also expected to discuss US blessing for Israeli plans to annex Jewish settlements and other territories in the West Bank.

West Bank annexations were detailed in President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East peace plan, which was categorically rejected by the Palestinians.

For other major powers, Israeli annexations in the West Bank would amount to a grave violation of international law.