Pompeo Says U.S. Still Wants to Work Closely With Europe Despite Iran Nuclear Deal

Published May 14th, 2018 - 09:38 GMT
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that his country is set to open talks with EU countries about Iran. (AFP/ File Photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that his country is set to open talks with EU countries about Iran. (AFP/ File Photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Sunday that Washington wanted to work “closely” with its European partners to reach a new agreement on confronting Iran’s “bad behavior” in wake of the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

He told Fox News that the pullout was not aimed at the Europeans, saying that Washington wanted to work with its allies on a more comprehensive agreement.

“My mission from President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America,” he said.

Pompeo added he was “hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but their missiles and their malign behavior as well.”

President Donald Trump announced last week his country’s withdrawal from the “defective” Iran nuclear deal, which saw Tehran build its army and increase defense spending by 40 percent since 2015.

White House national security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, warned that Iran’s military took advantage of the easing of pressure on its economy to meddle in Middle East conflicts during the past three years.

He told CNN on Sunday that Tehran “hid behind the deal” to expand in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Up until Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, it was creating change in the balance of power in the Middle East, he remarked.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump wrote: “Remember how badly Iran was behaving with the Iran Deal in place. They were trying to take over the Middle East by whatever means necessary. Now, that will not happen!”

On whether the US was willing to impose sanctions on European countries that work with Iran, Bolton stated: “It's possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments."

On whether Washington was seeking a regime change in Iran, Bolton replied: “I’m not the national security decision-maker. Trump makes the decision and the advice that I give him is between us.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif had embarked over the weekend on a tour of Iran deal signatory nations in an attempt to save the agreement.

Zarif said in Beijing on Sunday: "We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement."

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Zarif's tour would improve understanding of Iran's position and help Tehran protect its legitimate interests.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran will stay committed to the deal, which China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany also signed, provided those powers ensured Iran was protected from sanctions.

The three European states have recommitted to the agreement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had telephoned Rouhani on Sunday to stress Europe’s commitment.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Iran will hold talks in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss saving the deal. They will be joined by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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