Pompeo says Iran trying to ‘foment terror’ during pandemic

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said ‘the Iranians are using the ayatollah regime’s resources to foment terror across the world.’ (AFP file photo)
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Updated 14 May 2020

Pompeo says Iran trying to ‘foment terror’ during pandemic

  • ‘It tells you a lot about the soul of those people who lead that country’

JERUSALEM: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused Iran of using its resources to “foment terror” even as its people face the deadliest coronavirus outbreak. 

“Even during this pandemic the Iranians are using the ayatollah regime’s resources to foment terror across the world, even when the people of Iran are struggling so mightily,” Pompeo said in Jerusalem ahead of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

“It tells you a lot about the soul of those people who lead that country,” he added. 

Pompeo visited Israel on a one-day trip that included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz. 

Pompeo told the Israel Hayom newspaper that they discussed annexation “but also many other issues related to it — how to deal with all the factors involved, and how to make sure the move is done properly to bring about an outcome in accordance with the vision of peace.” 

The visit came a day before Israel’s new government was to be sworn in to discuss plans to annex much of the occupied and violence-torn West Bank. 

Pompeo’s trip coincided with an upsurge in violence in the West Bank. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pompeo visited Israel on a one-day trip that included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz.
  • The US official discussed West Bank annexation with Israeli leaders.
  • The trip coincided with an upsurge in violence in the West Bank.

Israeli troops shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian near the flashpoint city of Hebron Wednesday, a day after a Palestinian stone-thrower killed an Israeli soldier during an arrest operation near Jenin, the army’s first fatality of the year. 

Netanyahu and Gantz are set to launch their government Thursday, having faced off in three inconclusive elections in less than a year before agreeing to a three-year power-sharing administration. 

Netanyahu, the right-winger in office since 2009, will serve as premier for 18 months with Gantz as his alternate, before the two are set to swap posts midway through the deal. 

Their coalition agreement says the government can from July 1 begin considering implementing US President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan. 

The Palestinians have rejected Trump’s proposals and cut ties with his administration in 2017 over its pro-Israel stance. 

Their chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Pompeo’s team had not reached out ahead of the visit. 


Doha faces diplomatic row after women strip-searched at airport

Updated 1 min 27 sec ago

Doha faces diplomatic row after women strip-searched at airport

LONDON: Australia’s government has registered “serious concerns” with Qatar following a strip-searching scandal at Doha airport.
A flight to Sydney from Hamad International Airport was due to leave on Oct. 2, but was delayed by more than four hours after authorities allegedly discovered a deceased new-born infant in the airport. 
All the female passengers on board the aircraft were ordered to disembark. A doctor on the flight told Guardian Australia that the women returned some time later and that “most of them were very upset.”
Dr. Wolfgang Babeck added: “At least one of them was crying, they were discussing what had happened and saying it was unacceptable and disgusting.” 
The flight took off after the women returned. Babeck said he spoke with some of the passengers, who told him they were taken to a private area of the airport and subject to intrusive examinations.
“They were taken by security personnel into the cellar, not knowing what was going on. And then they were presented to a female doctor and they were basically strip-searched and had to take everything … off, all their clothes, even their underwear,” he added.
“And then the doctor would try to feel in the uterus and stomach area or lower abdomen to see whether they may have given birth recently. Someone had been told that a baby had been found in the toilet and they were trying to find out who the mother was.”
Other reports say the inspections took place in an ambulance on the runway, and 13 Australian women were strip-searched.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told Guardian Australia that it was “aware of concerning reports regarding the treatment, in Qatar, of passengers on a Qatar Airways flight to Sydney. DFAT is seeking further information from the Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways.”
On Sunday, DFAT issued an updated statement saying Australia’s government had “formally registered our serious concerns regarding the incident with Qatari authorities and have been assured that detailed and transparent information on the event will be provided soon.”