Trump’s choice of CIA director Pompeo as secretary of state is great news for Israel and bad news for Iran.
By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News
President Donald Trump’s firing of Rex Tillerson and appointment of CIA director Mike Pompeo as new US secretary of state is great news for Israel and bad news for Iran. Pompeo is a great admirer of Israel and a vocal opponent of diplomacy with the Iranian ayatollah regime.
A recent Gallup poll recorded the highest American support for Israel since the 1990s. While 75% of Americans today view Israel favorably, the US State Department has a long history of hostility towards the Jewish state and pro-Arab bias. Tillerson was part of this history, and the State Department disapproved of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Tillerson even tried to belittle Trump’s historic decision by stating that it would take at least three years to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump recently announced that the American embassy will be inaugurated in Jerusalem on the State of Israel’s 70th anniversary.
Unlike Tillerson, Pompeo shares Trump’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s skepticism towards the controversial Iran nuclear agreement. In late 2014, before the deal was signed, Pompeo indicated that he believed that military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities were more efficient than diplomacy to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.
At his Senate confirmation hearing in January 2017, Pompeo did not mince his words of criticism towards the Iranian regime. “Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, has become an even more emboldened and disruptive player in the Middle East,” he stated.
The Iranian regime and its supporters are clearly unhappy with the appointment of Pompeo as America’s top diplomat. This unease is also shared by the Europeans, who overwhelmingly support the nuclear agreement with Iran, which also opens up the large Iranian market for European businesses.
President Trump has repeatedly stated his displeasure with the Iran deal, vowing to pull out if Iran does not fix its “flaws.”
The appointment of Pompeo may indicate a prelude to Washington’s withdrawal from the agreement with the terror-sponsoring regime in Tehran. This is exactly what Netanyahu predicts. Addressing his ministers, Netanyahu said: “I believe Trump is very close to canceling the nuclear agreement.”
Not only Israel, but also Sunni Arab states have expressed their concerns regarding the Iran deal, which has already emboldened Tehran and likely paves the path to eventual Iranian nuclear weapons. This would make the volatile Middle East even more unstable by triggering a nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia recently warned that it would also seek nuclear weapons if Iran gets an atomic arsenal.
Only time will tell what Trump intends to do about the Iran agreement. Meanwhile, Israel enjoys the pleasantly rare combination of a friendly US president and a friend heading the State Department.