A review of the State Department’s Farsi-language Twitter account and its ShareAmerica website – which describes itself as a platform to spark debate on democracy and other issues – shows a number of posts critical of Tehran over the last month. Iran is the subject of four of the top five items on the website’s “Countering Violent Extremism” section. They include headlines such as “This Iranian airline helps spread violence and terror.” In social media posts and speeches, Pompeo himself also appeals directly to Iranians, the Iranian diaspora and a global audience.
The sum, earmarked for “security assistance,” was allocated months ago, but was kept on hold pending “a series of defense reforms” the US demanded of Kiev. On Friday, the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington announced that the funds have been released – which was soon confirmed to CNN by Major Sheryll Klinkel, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes the deep commitment of the United States and President Trump to Israel’s security, as expressed in the meeting between President Trump and President Putin. The friendship between Israel and the US has never been stronger,” the statement said, adding that Netanyahu “also greatly appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and President Putin’s clear position on the need to implement the 1974 separation agreements between Israel and Syria.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he actually wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 US presidential election. Russia, however, did not contribute to Trump’s win by any means, he insisted. “Yes, I wanted him to win, because he talked about the need to normalize US-Russia ties,” Putin said, answering a direct question from a journalist during the joint press conference with Donald Trump following the Helsinki summit.
Trump opened the meeting with warm words for Putin, seated next to the Russian leader in an ornate presidential palace in neutral Finland, and said it was a longstanding goal of his to improve the relationship between the two countries.
“I think we will have an extraordinary relationship. I hope so. I’ve been saying it, and I’m sure you’ve heard over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump headed into his first summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday determined to forge a personal bond with the Kremlin chief, saying only “stupidity” by prior administrations had brought US-Russian ties to their present low. Hours before the Helsinki summit, Trump was asked if he would press Putin over Russia’s alleged manipulation of the 2016 election that brought the mercurial property tycoon to power. He said only: “We’ll do just fine.”
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.
After months of anticipation, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet Monday to put to the test the US president’s ambition to forge a personal bond with the Kremlin chief. If Trump’s instinct is right and he finds common ground with Putin, then the pair’s Helsinki Summit may take the heat out of some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. But the Washington-Moscow rivalry has a long history and there are there many points of friction that could yet spoil Trump’s hoped-for beautiful friendship.