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Pompeo in Saudi Arabia on First Stop of Mideast Trip

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After making his diplomatic debut in Brussels at the NATO foreign ministers meeting, new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived Saturday in Saudi Arabia on the first stop of a swing through the Middle East.

Pompeo’s senior policy adviser, Brian Hook, who is accompanying Pompeo, called on European allies and other countries to impose sanctions on Iran to weaken its missile program.

“We are urging nations around the world to sanction any individuals and entities associated with Iran’s missile program, and it has also been a big part of discussions with Europeans,” Hook told reporters in Riyadh.

The three-day trip, during which the secretary is expected to brief U.S. allies on administration policy toward Iran, will also include stops in Israel and Jordan.

Friday, Pompeo said no decision had been made on whether President Donald Trump would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, adding that negotiations were ongoing.

At his first news conference in his new job, Pompeo said, “Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he [Trump] is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May.”

Pompeo said he had discussed the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, with his NATO counterparts. The top U.S. diplomat said this issue most likely would be high on the agenda when he traveled to the Middle East after leaving Brussels.

Source: Voice of America

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