UAE, Bahrain support Pompeo’s list of demands for Iran

UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargas, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was taking the right approach on Iran. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 21 May 2018
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UAE, Bahrain support Pompeo’s list of demands for Iran

  • A senior UAE official says United States is taking the right approach on Iran
  • Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry also affirms full support for Washington's strategy toward Iran.

JEDDAH: The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, said on Monday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was taking the right approach on Iran.
Gargash wrote on his official Twitter account, several hours after a policy speech on Iran by Pompeo, that united efforts were the right way to show Iran the “futility of its incursions and expansionism.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry also affirmed full support for the United States’ strategy toward Iran.
“Pompeo’s [strategy] which reflects the determination to confront the danger of Iranian policies that undermine security and stability in the region and to overcome the shortcomings of the nuclear agreement. And praised the continued efforts of the United States to strengthen regional and international peace and security and its relentless efforts to take all possible measures to prevent the spread of chaos, tension and crisis resolution in the region,” a statement from Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry read.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms that the Kingdom of Bahrain considers itself in a single position with the United States of America in the face of the Iranian threat, addressing Iran’s attempts to export violence and terrorism and stressing the need for Iran to respond to all efforts to achieve peace and resolve conflicts in the region and to remove them from nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. The immediate cessation of support for terrorist militias and adherence to international laws and norms and non-interference at all in the internal affairs of the States of the region,” the statement added.
The statement comes after Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran and said relief from economic sanctions would only come when Washington had seen tangible shifts in Iran’s policies.


Israel says located second ‘Hezbollah’ tunnel from Lebanon

UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) vehicles patrol along the border with Israel near the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila on Dec. 6. (AFP)
Updated 20 min 58 sec ago
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Israel says located second ‘Hezbollah’ tunnel from Lebanon

  • The tunnel crosses into Israel, like the first tunnel it is not yet operational, said Israel

JERUSALEM: Israel’s army said on Saturday it had located another tunnel crossing into its territory from Lebanon, the second such find since launching an operation to expose and destroy alleged Hezbollah “attack tunnels.”

“The IDF has located an additional Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnel,” spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said, refusing to give details on its precise location or dimensions.

“The tunnel crosses into Israel, like the first tunnel it is not yet operational and does not pose an imminent threat to Israeli communities,” he said in a briefing with journalists.

On Tuesday, the army launched an operation dubbed “Northern Shield” to destroy tunnels it said were dug under the border by the militant group Hezbollah, sharing images of one found near the Israeli town of Metula.

Conricus said on Saturday that the army had placed explosives in the newly exposed tunnel to prevent its use as a means to infiltrate Israel, but had not yet destroyed it. He said the Israeli military had issued warnings in Arabic to residents of southern Lebanon to stay away.

Following the army’s announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the operation to track the tunnels “is in its beginning.”

“We’ll continue to act till its completion,” he said in a statement.

Conricus said the military was aware of a third tunnel leading from south Lebanon into Israel.

Despite not having its exact location, he said Israel asked UNIFIL, the UN mission monitoring the border region, to “take action and block the tunnel on the Lebanese side.”

The announcement of the new find came after Israeli soldiers on Saturday opened fire at what they perceived to be three “Hezbollah activists” approaching the border near Yiftah, south of Metula, where the army was carrying out engineering work.

Conricus said the army believed the three individuals intended to take sensors the Israeli soldiers had placed in the ground as part of their efforts to uncover tunnels.

Lebanon’s official NNA news agency said Israeli forces fired shots in the air east of the village of Mays Al-Jabal after they had been surprised because of heavy fog by a routine Lebanese army patrol.

Also Saturday, the Kremlin said Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose forces are fighting on the same side as Hezbollah in Syria, to tell him about the tunnel operation.

Putin “stressed the need to ensure stability along the line separating Israel and Lebanon,” the Russian Embassy in Israel said.

Netanyahu’s office said he reiterated in the call “Israel’s policy to prevent the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to act against Iranian and Hezbollah aggression.” 

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and deliveries of advanced arms to Hezbollah.

However, a friendly fire incident in Syria in September that led to the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike has complicated Israeli operations.

Iran-backed Hezbollah is the only group in Lebanon not to have disarmed after the country’s 1975-1990 civil war. Israel fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006 that was halted by a truce.