Britain, France and Germany agree support for current nuke deal.
Pompeo urges Gulf allies to resolve dispute with Qatar
New US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored the need for unity in the Gulf during a brief visit to the Saudi capital on Sunday as Washington aims to muster support among allies for new sanctions against Iran.
Pompeo reassured Saudi Arabia that the United States would abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached under President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, unless there is an agreement in talks with European partners to improve it to make sure the Islamic Republic never possesses a nuclear weapons.
"Iran destabilises this entire region," Pompeo said in a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. "It supports proxy militias and terrorist groups. It is an arms dealer to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. It supports the murderous Assad regime (in Syria) as well."
"Unlike the prior administration we will not neglect the vast scope of Iran's terrorism," he added.
Pompeo also addressed the rift between some Gulf countries and Qatar: "Gulf unity is necessary and we need to achieve it."
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and arch-rival Iran on the other side of the Gulf.
Doha has denied the accusations and has said its three fellow Gulf countries aim to curtail its sovereignty. For its part, Iran denies supporting terrorism or having sought to develop nuclear weapons.
Pompeo met briefly with Saudi King Salman yesterday before heading directly to Jerusalem for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Iran's arch-enemy.
Meanwhile, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany have agreed the Iran nuclear deal is the best way of stopping Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons, British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said in a statement yesterday.
May had phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel where they agreed the deal may need to be broadened to cover other areas such as ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires, and Iran's destabilising regional activity, the statement said.
During yesterday's press conference, Jubeir said, "Iran should be dealt with by imposing further sanctions for its violations of international laws relating to ballistic missiles."
Pompeo's trip to Middle East comes as Trump considers whether or not to abandon by a self-imposed May 12 deadline the Iran nuclear deal he sees as deeply flawed.
Trump sees three defects in the deal: a failure to address Iranian ballistic missiles; the terms under which UN inspectors can visit allegedly suspect Iranian nuclear sites; and "sunset" clauses under which key limits on the Iranian nuclear programme start to expire after 10 years.
Iranian President Rouhani dismissed Trump as a "tradesman" who lacked the qualifications to deal with a complex international pact. Iran has said its ballistic missile programme is non-negotiable.