Iran says US hit by ‘hysteria’ since dropping nuclear deal

Comments come after Pompeo says Washington is creating an anti-Iran front bringing together Gulf countries as well as Egypt and Jordan

AFPTOI staff11 January 2019, 6:41 pm

Bahram Ghasemi, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, gives an interview with AFP in the capital Tehran on October 2, 2018. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Friday said the United States is suffering from “hysteria” over its inability to find alternatives to the landmark nuclear deal it walked away from last year.

Washington “pulled out of a comprehensive and legitimate agreement achieved through negotiation, and is now afflicted with chronic hysteria as it can’t find an alternative to it,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on his Telegram channel.

The US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord in May last year and reimposed punishing economic sanctions on the country.

The charge was Tehran’s first reaction to anti-Iran remarks made Thursday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo while on a whistle-stop tour of the region.

Speaking at the American University, the top US diplomat said Washington was creating an anti-Iran front — the Middle East Strategic Alliance — bringing together Gulf countries as well as Egypt and Jordan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C-R) is greeted by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (C-L) after arriving in Manama International Airport in Manama on January 11, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP)

“It’s time for old rivalries to end, for the sake of the greater good of the region,” Pompeo said.

Ghasemi called Pompeo’s proposed plan “a path with no benefit for America” and said that it proves the current US administration is the enemy of Iran and its people.

Pompeo’s tour is aimed at reassuring US allies after President Donald Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all 2,000 American troops from Syria.

On Friday, Pompeo announced the US is organizing an international summit in Poland next month, focusing on Iran’s Middle Eastern influence.

“We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” Pompeo told Fox News.

They will “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence,” the top US diplomat said.

A convoy of US troops drive along a road leading to the front line with Turkish-backed fighters in north Syria, March 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

The event will take place on February 13 and 14.

Pompeo brought the Trump administration’s anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states on Friday as he continued his nine-nation tour of the Middle East.

He was traveling to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where he will call for increasing pressure on Iran and push for unity among Gulf neighbors still embroiled in a festering dispute with Qatar. He’ll also be promoting a US-backed initiative to form what some have termed an “Arab NATO” that would bring the region together in a military alliance to counter threats from Iran.

In Bahrain, the UAE and later Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, Pompeo will also be making the case as he did on previous stops in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt that Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria is not a sign Washington is retreating from the fight against the Islamic State group.

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