After Europe Disappoints on Iran, Pompeo moves on to Russia

After Europe Disappoints on Iran, Pompeo moves on to Russia

Pompeo arrived in Russia Tuesday for meetings with Putin and other officials to win over support for America’s position on Iran.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Russia Tuesday for meetings with President Vladimir Putin and other top officials for discussions on Iran, after his earlier meetings with European leaders did not bear fruit.

Ahead of the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed the Trump administration on Monday for the current tension, saying its roots were in the America’s unilateral withdrawal from 2015 agreement last year.

“We will attempt to clarify with him how the Americans are planning to come out of the crisis they created with their unilateral decisions,” Foreign Minister Lavrov said. “We count on a frank talk with my American counterpart.”

In response to what the Pentagon called “clear indications” of an Iranian threat to American forces in the Middle East, the U.S. has beefed up its naval presence in the region with an aircraft carrier strike group.

Over the weekend, American bombers also began flying what an Air Force spokesperson called “deterrence missions … including over the Arabian Gulf.”

On Sunday, there were reported attacks on four oil tankers near the United Arab Emirates, two of which belonged to Saudi Arabia. Although nobody has taken credit for the “sabotage,” as the UAE called it, the Saudis said it was a threat to the security of global oil supplies at a time of rising tension between the U.S. and Iran.

Secretary Pompeo arrives in Sochi after failing to convince European foreign ministers on Monday that united action is needed against Iran. Breaking unexpectedly into his counterparts’ meeting in Brussels, the U.S. secretary of state shared with them some of the intelligence that the Americans had collected regarding Iran’s intentions.

However, the consensus on the European side was that the U.S. should hold back, and that the nuclear deal was still of utmost importance to its security.

EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini told reporters that Secretary Pompeo “heard very clearly today from us, not only from myself but also from the other ministers of EU members states, that we are living in a crucial, delicate moment where … the most responsible attitude to take … should be that of maximum restraint, avoiding any escalation on the military side,”

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also voiced “worry” over a conflict “happening by accident.”

Regarding tightening economic screws on Tehran, France’s top diplomat said that more American sanctions on Iran’s oil “does not suit us,” and Germany’s foreign minister insisted that the nuclear deal was still “the basis for Iran not having any nuclear weapons in the future.”