US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is in Israel as part of his so-called“anti-terror” tour of the Middle East, has met with the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked him for recent American sanctions against Iran.
Mnuchin, who began his four-day tour in Saudi Arabia, subsequently traveled to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds for unspecified meetings and events, including a meeting with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon “to discuss terrorist financing,” Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported Saturday.
According to the report, Netanyahu “thanked Mnuchin for the strong action the [US] Treasury Department has taken against Iran, especially the Iranian Revolution Guards and Hezbollah,” after Washington imposed meaningless sanctions on the two organizations since they have no financial ties or dealings with the United States.
The American treasury secretary — who was born in a Jewish family – said before his Thursday meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem that “the US has no better partner in the region than Israel.”
Netanyahu further told Mnuchin that he wanted to express his appreciation to Washington and the Trump administration for their support, “not only in terms of our security, which is critical for our future, but also in economic terms and the way we cooperate.”
The top executive of the Israeli regime also told the top US monetary official that such cooperation was “not only” between Tel Aviv and Washington, “but between Israel’s robust private sector and the great private sector of the United States… it is fundamental to our economic well-being. I deeply appreciate it.”
According to the US treasury department, the focus of Mnuchin’s current tour of the Middle East is focused on combating “terrorist financing” and a follow-up to President Donald Trump’s Middle East trip last May, during which he announced in Saudi Arabia the establishment of the “Terrorist Financing Target Center,” proclaiming that tracking what he referred to as “finances of terrorist networks” was among his top priorities.
Mnuchin, who is accompanied by Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker and other senior staff “specializing in financing of terrorism,” arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, where the US and other members of the Center – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – imposed sanctions on 13 people allegedly linked to the Daesh and al-Qaeda terrorist groups.
This is while both terror groups are widely reported to be financed and supplied by some members of the Center – something that current and former officials of the US government have already alluded to.
Mnuchin was due to visit Persian Gulf kingdoms of United Arab Emirates and Qatar on Saturday for meetings with top officials there before flying back to Washington, according to the report, which added that US Vice President Mike Pence is also scheduled to visit Israel in December.
The development came after reports last week that the Israeli military’s chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, was is due to attend a so-called “counter-terrorism” conference hosted by the US, marking the first time the regime is invited to the event.
This is the first time Israel participates in the conference, which was attended last year by the chiefs of staff of 43 states and the commanders of US combatant commands.