Pompeo: Iran supports terrorists, gives Palestinians almost no humanitarian aid
Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (AFP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lobbed harsh criticism at Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Saturday for his country’s history of aid to the Palestinians, stating that Iran directly supports terrorists while giving very little funding to humanitarian aid groups.
Khamenei on Friday said the Palestinians “should not be neglected even for a second,” in a tweet to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The correspondence came amid the tripartite summit held in Tehran between Erdogan, President Rouhani and Russia’s Vladmir Putin to discuss the fate of Idlib province in Syria.
In response to Khamenei’s comments, Pompeo took to twitter calling out the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader for being hypocritical. “Iran’s morally corrupt regime provided hundreds of millions in aid to terrorists who endanger the Palestinians’ lives and livelihoods.”
Ayatollah Khamenei says he cares about Palestinians.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 8, 2018
FACT: Since 1994, the U.S. provided $6.3 billion in aid to support the Palestinian people; #Iran’s morally corrupt regime provided hundreds of millions in aid to terrorists who endanger the Palestinians’ lives & livelihoods. https://t.co/GCP8IjFdFt
By contrast, Pompeo wrote that the United States has given about $6.3 billion in aid to “the Palestinian people.”
“FACT: #Iran’s regime punished Palestinians by providing them just $20,000 -- yes, $20,000 -- via #UNRWA from 2008 to 2017,” he tweeted.
“If only the Ayatollah’s regime didn’t ban social media in #Iran, maybe the Iranian people would know the truth about who really cares about the Palestinians, and why the regime wastes the people’s money on terrorists while they struggle,” Pompeo added.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in July that Iran gave “zero dollars” to UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, last year.
Last week, the White House announced it would cut all funding to UNRWA after over half a century of support.
Despite reports in recent months of Israeli officials quietly urging the US not to end its funding to UNRWA, it appears the government of the Jewish state approves of the Trump administration's choice.
"Israel supports the US move," an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on condition of anonymity.
"Consolidating the refugee status of Palestinians is one of the problems that perpetuates the conflict."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is "considering going to the UN General Assembly and Security Council to face the US decision on UNRWA to prevent the outbreak of things," according to Palestinians Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina.
The US has long been the UN Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) largest donor but is "no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, branding the organization "irredeemably flawed."
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