Israel has formally declined to comment on whether it was involved in a blackout at Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment site, but former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that any nation that feels threatened with the Biden administration's plans to head back into the Iran nuclear deal will "defend itself."
"I can assure you the countries in the region, not just the Israelis, know that the Trump administration and the United States was with them," Pompeo, who joined Fox News as a contributor over the weekend, said on "Fox and Friends." "We were prepared to fight back against the world's largest state sponsor of terror in Iran ... it doesn't surprise me that the countries are looking to take action."
Iran on Monday blamed Israel for sabotaging the nuclear site, vowing revenge for what appears to be the latest episode in a long-running covert war between the nations.
Iran's semi-official Nournews website reported that the person who caused the electricity outage in one of the underground facility's production halls has been identified and said "necessary measures are being taken to arrest this person," the website reported, without giving details about the person.
Meanwhile, both American and Israeli officials confirmed to The New York Times that Israel played a role in the explosion, which is said to have set back Iran's efforts by nearly a year. Several Israeli news outlets that cited intelligence sources attributed the attack to Israel's spy agency, the Mossad.
The Times reports that the blackout was caused by an explosion targeting the power supply for thousands of underground centrifuges forming Iran's main enrichment program.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has reportedly said the United States' ironclad commitment to Israel, but that is "hard to square" with the Biden administration's plans to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, Pompeo said.
"I'm happy that he talked about an ironclad relationship with Israel," said Pompeo. "That's great news. It's right for Israel, the Middle East and, most importantly it'll secure American freedom as well. But it's not words, it's deeds that people in that region watch."
But when there is an "appeasement campaign" going on in Vienna, or the administration talks about lifting sanctions or saying it's prepared to lift sanctions "on a regime that has terrorized the region, puts American lives at risk, that's not good for our country or our friends in Israel," Pompeo added. "It doesn't feel very ironclad when you're about to go back into a deal many of which provisions have already expired."
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders to reverse many of President Donald Trump's actions, including on the southern border, and Pompeo noted the previous administration worked hard to secure agreements to help with the migration situation.
"We worked hard with the Mexican government, we worked hard with the government in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras," said Pompeo. "We had real relationships with those people. We negotiated. We got to a place that made life better for their people and to watch them just come in and flip the switch and the tragedy we now see of these lives, these people who are trying to come through Mexico to get into the United States because President Biden green-lighted this is absolutely tragic."
The agreements marked "good diplomacy," he added.
"We watched these countries say fine, we'll help you at the southern border, but we've got to get this right, and you, America, have to do the right things too," said Pompeo. "We did that. We negotiated. We made it clear we were going to close the border and when we did that, we turned off the magnet, the incentives for people to make that terrible trek across Mexico were gone."
But with Biden, "You can't just flip the switch," he said. "You have to work alongside of them and build partnerships. That's how we protect American sovereignty."
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