Netanyahu praises Trump, Pompeo after Iran saber-rattling
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Netanyahu praises Trump, Pompeo after Iran saber-rattling

PM backs US president in his war of words with Rouhani, says it’s a welcome change from past Western ‘pampering’ of regime

US President Donald Trump (right) welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on March 5, 2018, in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
US President Donald Trump (right) welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on March 5, 2018, in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday commended US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their “strong stance” on Iran, after the American leader fired off an angry tweet threatening the Islamic Republic and his top diplomat compared Tehran’s leadership to a “mafia.”

“I would like to praise the strong stance expressed yesterday by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo against the Iranian regime’s aggression,” said Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting.

“For years, this regime was pampered by world powers and it’s good to see that the United States is changing this unacceptable equation,” added Netanyahu.

Trump on Sunday hit back at bellicose comments by Iran’s president, warning him of dire consequences as the US intensifies its campaign against the Islamic Republic.

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump said on Twitter in a direct message to President Hassan Rouhani.

Earlier Sunday the Iranian leader had warned Trump not to “play with the lion’s tail,” saying that conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars

The US president, writing his entire message in capital letters, continued his riposte:

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

His comments Sunday night came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a major address to the Iranian diaspora in California, said Washington is not afraid to sanction top-ranking leaders of the “nightmare” Iranian regime.

Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

“The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” he said.

Trump in May pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

European allies maintain their support for the deal and have vowed to stay in it, though their businesses fear US penalties.

Following Washington’s pullout Pompeo unveiled Washington’s tougher line under which, he said, the US would lift the new sanctions if Iran ended its ballistic missile program and interventions in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

Rouhani immediately dismissed those US threats and on Sunday said: “You cannot provoke the Iranian people against their own security and interests.”

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