Pompeo Urges NATO to Stop Iran’s Malign Behavior

Pompeo Urges NATO to Stop Iran’s Malign Behavior

Thursday, 12 July, 2018 - 19:15
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on as President Donald Trump addresses a press conference on the second day of the NATO summit in Brussels, July 12, 2018. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused on Thursday Iran of seeking to spark chaos “wherever it can,” urging NATO to support American measures to cut Iran off from world energy markets.

Pompeo was in Brussels where President Donald Trump was attending the NATO summit. He held talks with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the EU-US energy council.

Pompeo made no statement going into the talks, but his Twitter account showed what was on his mind.

"Iran continues to send weapons across the Middle East, in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions," he wrote. "Iran's regime wants to start trouble wherever it can. It's our responsibility to stop it."

Then, just before the talks started, he added: "We ask our allies and partners to join our economic pressure campaign against Iran's regime. We must cut off all funding the regime uses to fund terrorism and proxy wars.”

"There's no telling when Iran may try to foment terrorism, violence and instability in one of our countries next."

Alongside the tweet he posted a map of Europe purporting to show the locations of 11 terror attacks US officials believe Iran or its proxy “Hezbollah” have carried out since 1979.

His comments came as other US officials have fanned out around the globe to warn foreign governments to stop buying oil from Iran or face sanctions and after he accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in Europe.

"Just this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in Europe," Pompeo said on Tuesday.

He was referring to the arrest of an Iranian diplomat posted to Vienna who was allegedly involved in the plot to bomb an Iranian opposition group rally in France on June 30. The envoy's arrest in Germany came after a couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

Iran denies involvement and contends the allegations against its diplomat are intended to damage its relations with the European Union.

Washington dismayed Europe in May when Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord under which Iran agreed to controls on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

US sanctions have now "snapped back" into place and US officials have begun to hope that the economic pressure is fueling domestic discontent against the Tehran regime.

European companies are reluctant to resume trade with Iran at the risk of being hit by US secondary sanctions, but the main EU capitals want to protect the accord.

They are thus resisting a US threat to impose sanctions on any entity trading in Iranian oil or dealing with the Iranian central bank after a November 4 deadline.

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