Mike Pompeo’s farewell tour raises questions about Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upon his arrival at Paris-Le Bourget airport on November 14.

Ten days of travel, as in ancient times, preceding the Covid-19. Ten days combining pleasure and work, with an emphasis on the Middle East, one of the most contrasting projects of the Trump era. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, began in Paris on Friday, November 13, a farewell tour that does not say his name. After a private weekend in the French capital with his wife, he is to be received at the Elysee Palace on Monday by Emmanuel Macron, after an interview with his counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. “Simple courtesy visit”, one underlines in the entourage of the Head of State, at the request of the American official. The next stages of its journey will be Turkey, Georgia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Mike Pompeo has refused to this day to recognize the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election. The French authorities have not planned any publicity around his official meetings in Paris. These fall under classic bilateral relations, since the newly elected president, Joe Biden, will not enter the White House until after his inauguration on January 20. Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone on November 10 with the latter. On Twitter, the head of state clarified that they had mentioned their “Shared priorities – climate, global health, international security – and effective multilateral action”.

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The State Department has indicated that Mike Pompeo’s talks in Paris will be on the menu “Transatlantic work on economic and security issues, as well as on counter-terrorism and global threats”. Behind this broad enumeration, certain subjects should expose differences between Paris and Washington. France fears that the Trump administration is seeking to precipitate the military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, at the risk of further destabilization of these countries.

In addition, questions exist among diplomats about the Trump administration’s agenda for the next two months in the Middle East. Mike Pompeo is expected to pay a historic visit to the Golan Heights, but also to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. This is Psagot, famous for its wine production, which was the subject of a complaint before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to challenge the labeling of products made in the colonies, decided by the European Union. In order to thank Mike Pompeo for his support, the Psagot vineyard even decided to create a special cuvée in his name two years ago.

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