Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Feb. 18 said he is confident that no one will ever again be able to deny the threat that the Islamic Republic in Iran presents Israel, the Gulf nations, and the United States, following the “historic” achievements for the region made under the Trump administration.
Pompeo made the remarks while accepting a “Champion of International Human Rights” award at the ninth Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala, held by the World Values Network on Thursday in honor of Black history month. It is the first award of its kind.
He was referring to former President Donald Trump’s Abraham Accords, a joint statement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States—and later, with Bahrain and other Arab countries. The agreement, which earned the former president Nobel Peace Prize nominations, serves to establish new cooperation and normalization between the Middle East nations.
“I am confident that people around the world now think about Iran differently than when our administration took office,” Pompeo said, addressing the event virtually.
“And while the next administration [Biden] may choose its own tactical plan, I don’t believe that’s the case that anyone will ever again deny the threat that the Islamic Republic presents to the United States, to Israel, to Arab nations in the Gulf.”
It is unclear whether President Joe Biden intends to keep or derail the Abraham Accords. However, administration officials have welcomed the agreement as a positive development.
On Wednesday, for the first time since taking office on Jan. 20, Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone, during which he affirmed his commitment to Israel’s security and expressed a desire to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including defense cooperation, the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders also discussed security issues posed by Iran, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the United States’s continued support for peace agreements to normalize relations between Israel and Arab nations—the Abraham Accords.
Biden administration officials have previously said they would examine the U.S. commitments made as part of the agreement. The president has also said he is ready to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran if Tehran returns to compliance. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) late Thursday warned that the Iranian regime will continue to “exploit” Biden’s “weakness,” referring to an attack last week by Iran-backed Shia militia groups at an American base in Erbil, Iraq.
“Iranian-backed forces just attacked American troops in Iraq. Instead of retaliating, what does President Biden do? Prepares to lift sanctions on the regime & begs to reopen diplomatic talks. The Iranian regime will continue to exploit @POTUS‘s weakness,” Cotton said on Twitter.
Pompeo in his acceptance speech praised Trump’s landmark foreign policy achievement in the region as “incredibly powerful.”
Prior to the brokering of the Abraham Accords by Trump, Israel was only recognized by Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East. Several Arab nations for decades have boycotted Israel, saying they would only establish ties if its Palestinian dispute were settled.
“I think the Abraham Accords … laid the foundations where Arab nations could once again articulate publicly that hostility and antagonism and threats to Israel aren’t the morally right thing to do, they’re not the right thing to do for sovereign nations,” said.
“And once again we’re now beginning to call it normalization, but the reality is, it’s just to recognize the right of Israel as the Jewish homeland, and say that we want to be brothers in love, brothers in faith, brothers in commerce and security, all the things the nations do together, I am incredibly proud of that outcome.
“It was historic in the sense of you now have a warm connectivity between these countries that is incredibly, incredibly powerful.”
Janita Kan contributed to this report.