Pompeo to Meet NATO Leaders as he Eyes Upping Pressure on Iran

Pompeo to Meet NATO Leaders as he Eyes Upping Pressure on Iran

Tuesday, 10 July, 2018 - 18:30
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Brussels on Tuesday to hold talks with NATO allies on upping pressure against Iran.

A State Department official said he will seek to reassure allies about alternative oil supplies as Washington looks to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran.

Pompeo flew from Abu Dhabi, where he held talks Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

At NATO, Pompeo would discuss Iran with ministers from Britain, France and Germany, and in other bilateral meetings, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said a meeting with political directors of the so-called E-3 countries of France, Germany and Britain, who signed an international agreement on Iran that the Trump administration has withdrawn from, would now be held in Brussels on Wednesday or Thursday. He said it was postponed for a couple of days due to scheduling issues.

The United States pulled out of a multinational deal in May to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington has since told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 or face US financial measures, with no exemptions.

Since Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement, European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to maintain the nuclear curbs required in the deal.

But so far it has proven difficult to offset the impact of continued US sanctions, with European firms reluctant to risk far-reaching US financial penalties to do business in Iran.

Several companies have already quit Iran to avoid the sanctions.

“No matter how much people write about trans-Atlantic rifts, in the case of Iran we agree on much more than we disagree,” the US official said.

“The European nations are as frustrated as we are with Iran’s missile program, the missile attacks that they are facilitating.”

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