Trump, Netanyahu Speak on Phone to Discuss Middle East Tensions Before Pompeo Meeting

A readout of the conversation, which took place before Netanyahu met new secretary of state Pompeo for the first time, indicated that they spoke about the Iran deal

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in Janruary, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in January, 2017.Credit: Alex Brandon/AP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone on Sunday to discuss the current situation in the Middle East, a White House readout said.

The readout of their phone conversation stated that they "discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities."

The call took place just hours before Netanyahu met for the first time with Trump's new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who is visiting the Middle East.

The phone call between the two leaders was their second one within the last month. Trump stated on Friday that he was considering flying to Israel in two weeks to attend a ceremony for the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem.

"I may go," he said, during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the next two weeks, Trump also needs to decide on the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran by the renewal date of the deal - an issue that seems to have been at the center of his phone call with Netanyahu.

Earlier, Pompeo said following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  that the United States will cancel the Iran nuclear deal if it is not fixed.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, which took place at the Israeli military's headquarters in Tel Aviv, Pompeo said the U.S. stands with Israel against Iran. "We remain deeply concerned about Iran's dangerous escalation of threats toward Israel and the region," Pompeo said, adding that the U.S. supports Israel's right to defend itself.

Pompeo called the deal signed between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program "very flawed" and said U.S. President Donald Trump has "directed the administration to try and fix it, and if we can’t fix it, he’s going to withdraw from the deal."

Washington is "incredibly proud" to open the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th, Pompeo added, noting that "by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we’re recognizing reality."

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