Pompeo, in Saudi Arabia, Talks Tough on Iran, Gulf Dispute

(From AP News)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is using the Middle East leg of his first trip abroad as America’s top diplomat to call for concerted international action to punish Iran for its missile programs. He’s also urging Saudi Arabia and its neighbors to resolve a long-festering dispute with Qatar that U.S. officials say Iran is exploiting to boost its influence in the region, including in Yemen and Syria.

Pompeo was meeting on Sunday with Saudi King Salman, whose country along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates is embroiled in a row with Qatar that had hobbled Gulf Arab unity and frustrated the U.S. as it seeks to blunt growing Iranian assertiveness. The ex-CIA chief had arrived in Riyadh a day earlier, shortly after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired missiles at Saudi Arabia’s southern city of Jizan, killing one person and underscoring what U.S. officials said is a growing threat emanating from Iran.

Senior U.S. officials traveling with Pompeo blamed Iran for smuggling the missiles into Yemen. They said the incident highlighted the importance of the Trump administration’s push to counter Iranian supported-aggression in the region. Iran has backed the Houthi rebellion in Yemen and is helping Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government fight rebels there.

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