- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2018

President Trump spoke by phone over the weekend with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about confronting Iran’s hostile interference throughout the Middle East, the White House said Sunday.

“The two leaders discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities,” the White House said in a statement.

Mr. Netanyahu is one of the only international leaders to back Mr. Trump’s proposal to exit the Iran nuclear deal. Mr. Trump has set a May 12 deadline to decide the fate of the Obama-era agreement that was supposed to halt Iran’s nuclear weapon development until 2025 in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

The president’s call preceded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit Sunday with Mr. Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.

“Iran must be stopped, its quest for a nuclear bomb must be stopped, its aggression must be stopped and we’re committed to stopping it together,” Mr. Netanyahu said after a nearly two-hour meeting with Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Pompeo is on his first foreign trip since being confirmed last week as the new secretary of state.

“We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region and Iran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains,” he said in Tel Aviv. “The United States is with Israel in this fight.”

Mr. Trump was urged to stay in the Iran deal during separate White House visits by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Both leaders agreed that more curbs were needed on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile development and support of terrorism throughout the Middle East. But they want to keep the current Iran deal, which their countries helped negotiate, as a foundation for new measures.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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