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Pompeo, Netanyahu talk about coronavirus, Iran’s ‘destabilizing behavior’

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the coronavirus pandemic and Iran.

In a tweet, Pompeo said the two discussed “US and Israeli efforts to contain and mitigate” the virus, without elaborating.

They also talked about “Iran’s destabilizing behavior,” Pompeo said.

 

“The United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering,” he added.

 

There was no immediate readout from the Prime Minister’s Office on the conversation, which appears to have taken place during the first day of Passover.

The conversation between the two came amid growing calls for the Trump administration to ease sanctions on Iran, one of the country’s hit hardest by COVID-19.

Pompeo last month hinted the US may relax sanctions on Iran and other countries because of the virus outbreak, while noting they were not blocked from receiving medical assistance.

Netanyahu, a vocal opponent of the Islamic Republic who has long advocated for tough US sanctions on Tehran over its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terror groups, has refrained from mentioning Iran since the virus began spreading.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged the International Monetary Fund to give the sanctions-hit country a $5 billion emergency loan to combat its novel coronavirus outbreak.

But the United States, which effectively holds a veto at the IMF, is reportedly set to block the loan, arguing Iran will use the funds for military purposes.




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