Pompeo and Netanyahu discuss Iranian threats – Europeans say Iran has nuclear-capable missiles
PM Netanyahu said that Iran “is increasing its aggression as we speak. We are actively engaged in encountering that aggression.” The wave of popular protests in the Middle East is an opportunity to “increase pressure” on Iran, he added.
“There is no reason” to help the protesters, Netanyahu said ahead of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as the demonstrations were part of a “fertile ground” to weaken the Islamic Republic.
Pompeo echoed Netanyahu’s statements at the press conference ahead of their meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. Pompeo said he discussed Middle East stability with Trump over many meetings at the NATO summit in London at a time when there are “Anti-Iran protests taking place” in Baghdad, Beirut and Iran itself.
“These are people who are seeking freedom,” he said, and “they recognize the threat that is posed the kleptocrats that are running the Islamic Republic of Iran. We talked with our European partners on how we can together ensure we do everything we can to create opportunities for those people who simply want freedom and a chance to live a normal life,” Pompeo said.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom said “Iran’s developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” go against a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles.
Ambassadors from the three European nations urged U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter circulated Wednesday to inform the council in his next report that Iran’s ballistic missile activity is “inconsistent” with the call in a council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The letter cites footage released on social media April 22, 2019, of a previously unseen flight test of a new Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile variant “equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle.”
It says: “The Shahab-3 booster used in the test is a Missile Technology Control Regime category-1 system and as such is technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”
Officials in the Trump administration also have said Iran is working to obtain nuclear-capable missiles, something the Iranians deny.
President Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement in May 2018. But it is still supported by the five other parties — France, Britain, Russia and China, which are all veto-wielding Security Council members, and Germany, which is currently serving a two-year term on the council.