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Pompeo Says Reducing Ties With Saudis Will Encourage Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the press at the State Department in Washington, November 20, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Iran has no interest in easing the suffering of Yemen’s people and “the Mullahs don’t even care for ordinary Iranians”.

Pompeo’s remarks coincided with a closed session of the United States Senate that debated a response to Saudi Arabia for the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The senators passed a resolution to pull U.S. support from the war in Yemen, in what is seen as a rebuke to both Riyadh and President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis both came to Capitol Hill to urgently lobby against the resolution, which would call for an end to U.S. military assistance for the conflict that human rights advocates say is wreaking havoc on Yemen and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing.

Separately, Pompeo said U.S. involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

His language was blunt in a Wall Street Journal article, writing that Khashoggi's murder "has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on. But degrading U.S.-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies."

With reporting by AP, Reuters