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Pompeo touts Iran policy in Gulf ahead of Biden presidency


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended his tour of Gulf Arab states and the Trump administration’s continued efforts to squeeze Iran, at the same time as a brand new US administration led by Joe Biden prepares to enter the White House in January.

Although Pompeo has not taken questions from US-based reporters touring with him over the previous 10 days, he sat down with the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya in Dubai for transient televised remarks Sunday.

“Our policies don’t change. Our duty doesn’t change. My responsibilities don’t change,” he stated. “I still have an obligation — every hour, every minute — to defend the American people and to keep them foremost in our efforts, and we’ll do that. We’ll do that to the very last minute.”

In what was probably his ultimate tour of the Persian Gulf as secretary of state, he touted the Trump administration’s Mideast technique that targeted on Iran as “the central threat inside the region” and for a most strain marketing campaign that hampered Iran’s potential to assist militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

“It’ll be our policy until our time is complete,” he stated, stopping quick of saying when he’d stop work as the highest U.S. diplomat.

President Donald Trump has refused to concede to Biden, regardless of the Trump marketing campaign’s futile efforts to dam the certification of votes in varied states.

The Trump administration is making an attempt to ramp up strain on Iran earlier than Biden takes workplace as president. Biden has stated he needs to return to rapprochement with Iran. Analysts say Biden is predicted to be extra prepared to interact the Iranians in order to keep away from main escalation, though he’s prone to press Tehran on its missile program and never simply its nuclear program.

Trump is seen favorably by Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for pulling the usout of a nuclear accord with Iran and reimposing sweeping sanctions which have drained Iran of very important oil income.

Pompeo is scheduled to journey to Saudi Arabia late Sunday to fulfill Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier than heading again to Washington.

His tour additionally included stops in France, Turkey and Israel, together with an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and a museum that honors Christian Zionists.

Trump was just lately talked again from transferring ahead with a army strike on Iran’s most important nuclear web site by advisors who included Pompeo, in accordance with a New York Times report.

When requested about this, a State Department official touring with Pompeo advised reporters that “all options are on the table” and that the Trump administration “will continue to pursue its policies until it’s not in office anymore.”

Pompeo began his Gulf tour in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi early Saturday, assembly the emirate’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who’s seen because the day-to-day ruler and the highly effective determine behind the nation’s main policy selections.

The State Department stated they mentioned the progress of the UAE’s choice to normalize ties with Israel — a transfer that was adopted by Bahrain and Sudan.

They additionally mentioned “security cooperation and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region, as well as that of China,” the U.S. assertion stated.

Also Read | US hits Iran with new sanctions as Pompeo defends strategy

Pompeo “also underscored the importance of Gulf unity.” The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have largely balked at U.S. efforts to reconcile with Qatar, which they accuse of sponsoring terrorism and backing violent Islamist teams throughout the area.

The quartet lower ties with Qatar in mid-2017 and have demanded the gas-rich Arab state shutter its flagship Al Jazeera information community amongst different calls for, which Qatar has rejected outright, together with the accusations.

Pompeo departed Abu Dhabi for Qatar on Saturday, though there aren’t any direct business flights because of the stalemate.

He had lunch with the ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and met with Qatar’s international minister. The State Department stated Pompeo mentioned regional points, and “the importance of a united Gulf to stand against the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activity, and the risk to the region presented by China.” Qatar, nonetheless, has heat ties with Iran. The two nations additionally share a large underwater gasoline area in the Persian Gulf.

While in Qatar, Pompeo moreover met with representatives of the Afghan authorities and Taliban, the place the warring sides are holding talks concerning the future of the nation.

Despite a pointy rise in violence this 12 months, Washington plans to withdraw an estimated 2,500 troops earlier than the center of January, leaving about 2,000 troopers in Afghanistan.

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