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Pompeo: Soleimani assassination, sale of F-35 jets to UAE deeply linked with Abraham Accords

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani standby prior to signing the so-called Abraham Accords with then-US president Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, US, on September 15, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander, General Qassem Soleimani, and the deal for the sale of US F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates were deeply connected with the so-called Abraham Accords.

Several Arab countries, including the UAE and Bahrain, normalized their relations with Israel under US-brokered agreements last year when former US president Donald Trump was in office.

Almost five months after the Trump administration’s tenure came to an end, Pompeo says there was a series of actions that allowed the accords to advance and eventually be signed, including the deal to sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.

“Beyond the technology of the jet, beyond the capabilities it gives the Emiratis, the very sale says that Israelis and Americans believe that the Emirates can share their perception of security. And that is very, very important,” the hawkish ex-US official told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in an interview set to be published in full on Friday.

Back in November, the US State Department notified Congress of the massive arms deal with the UAE, less than two months after the Emiratis signed the normalization deal with Israel.

After assuming office in January, the administration of Joe Biden put a temporary hold on several major foreign arms sales initiated by Trump, including the deal to sell 50 F-35 advanced fighter jets to the UAE.

However, the Biden administration told Congress in April that it would move ahead with the deal.

“Also the [assassination of General] Soleimani was deeply connected to the Abraham Accords,” Pompeo stated in the interview.

Pompeo said the assassination proved to the world that the United States is determined in its battle against Iran.

In early 2020, Trump ordered airstrikes in the assassination of Gen. Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), near Baghdad airport.

In response, the IRGC launched numerous ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad base. Over 100 US troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries in the aftermath of the attack.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has described the assassination as “an act of revenge” by the US and Israel against the Islamic Republic and other independent nations that foiled the pair’s sinister plots to destabilize the region.

A ranking Islamic Jihad official said last month that the Gaza Strip’s resistance movements owe their victory against the Israeli regime’s latest aggression on the territory to General Soleimani’s lifelong efforts to invigorate them.

"When we talk about Martyr Qassem Soleimani, we talk about his role in preparing, equipping, training, and supporting the Palestinian resistance,” Khaled al-Batsh, member of the Gaza-based resistance group’s Politburo, told Press TV, days after the conclusion of last month’s 11-day conflict between the Israeli regime and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza.

In his interview, Pompeo strongly criticized Biden’s behavior during the aggression, claiming that he only paid lip service to supporting Israel.

“Yes, Biden definitely came up with the right words,” Pompeo said, adding that “at the moment that he uttered words of support for Israel, he released funds to the Palestinians.”

“At the exact moment that his mouth was talking, he removed the terror designation from the Houthis (Yemen’s Ansarullah movement). At the exact moment he gave that speech, American officials sat in Vienna and spoke — albeit indirectly — with the Iranians” about releasing several million dollars of Iran’s frozen funds, Pompeo said.

The Biden administration has promised to join the Iran nuclear deal, also called the JCPOA, and repeal Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran. However, the talks in the Austrian capital to bring the US back to compliance have not led to the fulfillment of that promise yet.

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