Secretary of State Pompeo to meet PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday

Secretary of State Pompeo to meet PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday

Today, freshly-appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to update him on Washington’s thinking

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Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Today, freshly-appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to update him on Washington’s thinking regarding the Iran nuclear deal despite no decision being made as yet.

It comes as the May 12 deadline looms for President Trump to extend US commitments to the deal or abandon it. Trump, Pompeo and Netanyahu are vociferous opponents of the deal.

Last week’s visit by French President Emmanuel Macron has raised prospects of Trump remaining in the deal on the proviso that it is vastly renegotiated. Trump wants any new deal to include Iran’s ballistic missile programme, permanent restriction on uranium enrichment and a ban on Iranian support for terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The prospects of Iran agreeing to the above changes are low. Even if the reformist Rouhani government wanted to, the conservative opposition would never agree and they hold more sway over Supreme Leader Khameinei—who has final say. Also, although Macron is amenable to “improvements”, Russia and China—Iranian allies—would likely oppose the changes. Both scenarios would then either result in US or Iranian withdrawal unless last-minute compromises can be hatched.

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