Following a positive meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the latter told reporters that Israel has a right to defend itself against Iran and congratulated Israel on the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem “well ahead of the timetable.”

Pompeo and Netanyahu

Pompeo and Netanyahu Photo Credit: Yariv Katz/Pool

During today’s meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the two agreed that Iran is a threat. Netanyahu said that Iran’s possession of nuclear arms poses the greatest threat globally. “We are committed to stopping Iran together,” he added.

Pompeo reasserted the United States’ long-time support of Israel and said that Israel had a right to defend itself against Iran. Pompeo’s meeting with Netanyahu was shadowed by recent claims made by US President Donald Trump to forego maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran if corrections are not made to it.

Watch: The joint press conference

During a press conference that followed the meeting, Netanyahu commended the new Secretary of State for taking his time “to include Israel in this important itinerary” and that it was “very symbolic of our friendship which is deep and getting even deeper and stronger.”

Netanyahu told Pompeo that he is “a true friend of Israel, a true friend of the Jewish people” and that he looks forward to working with him in his new role. He added: “We just had a very productive, very focused, conversations on our common interests and how to defend our common values.”

Pompeo echoed Netanyahu’s positive comments and said that the relationship “couldn’t be stronger” and that they had “a fantastic conversation.”

Speaking about the issue of Iran, the US secretary said that the US is “deeply concerned” about Iran’s aggression and that the Trump administration is committed to preventing Tehran’s ambitions to dominate the Middle East.  “A strong cooperation with strong allies like you is critical to countering Iran’s destabilizing and malign ambitions,” Pompeo said, adding that the US “was with Israel in this fight” and that “we strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Referring to the US’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pompeo expressed his satisfaction and joked that “we are well ahead of the original timetable.” He added that he is “incredibly proud” to open the embassy as Israel celebrated its 70th year of independence and “70 years of recognition as steadfast support for Israel from the American people as well. And by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seed of its government, we are recognizing reality.”