All tagged Mike Pompeo

U.S. Waiver Concern Sees Iranian Oil Buyers Put Imports on Hold

◢ The biggest buyers of Iranian oil are said to be putting their purchases on hold as they wait to see whether the White House will extend waivers allowing them to keep buying the crude. Most Asian buyers are avoiding imports for next month as it’s unclear what will happen to the exemptions that are set to expire in the first week of May, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Fresh U.S. Divide on Iran Emerges Over Expiring Nuclear Waivers

◢ A fresh divide is emerging between some Trump administration officials and hard-line opponents of Iran in the Senate over how far to go in the White House’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. In a letter to President Donald Trump this week, a group of Republican senators demanded that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stop letting Iran continue its limited civilian nuclear research program.

Pompeo Says Iran Tied to Al-Qaeda, Declines to Say if War Legal

◢ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused Iran of ties to Al-Qaeda and declined to say whether the Trump administration had legal authority to invade the country. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo hedged on whether the authorization of force by the US Congress days after the September 11, 2001 attacks would allow the United States to strike Iran.

Zarif Calls for US Forces to be Put on Iran 'Terror' List

◢ Iran's top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged President Hassan Rouhani to place US forces in the region on Tehran's list of "terrorist" groups, the foreign ministry said. The foreign minister requested the move against US Central Command (CENTCOM), which has forces stationed from Central Asia to Egypt, shortly after Washington announced it was designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

Iraq PM to Make First Official Iran Visit Saturday

◢ Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi will travel to Iran on Saturday, a member of his office said, in his first official visit to the country rivalling Washington for influence over Baghdad. The US reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran's energy and finance sectors last year but has granted Baghdad several exemptions to keep temporarily importing Iranian gas and electricity, crucial to Iraq's faltering power sector.

Trump Team Split Over Iran Oil Waivers as Next Deadline Nears

◢ President Donald Trump’s national security team is deeply divided over whether to let a small group of countries keep buying Iranian oil after a U.S. deadline on sanctions waivers expires in May. Now that fight is getting ugly. The division—primarily between John Bolton’s National Security Council and Michael Pompeo’s State Department—has led to rising frustration and flared tempers.

US Sanctions Iran Nuclear Researchers, Warns of Future Work

◢ The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Iranian nuclear researchers, saying it wanted to warn young scientists to steer clear of any future effort to build a bomb. Sanctioning 14 individuals and 17 entities, US officials acknowledged that the nuclear work was in the past but said Washington wanted to make the targeted figures "radioactive."

Pompeo on Middle East Tour to Counter Iran, Boost Netanyahu

◢ Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo sought Wednesday to bolster a united front against Iran during a Middle East tour that will include talks with key ally Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of Israeli elections. The US secretary of state kicked off his regional tour in Kuwait where he met Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on the first stop of a trip that will also take him to Israel and Lebanon.

Oil Market Can Weather Zero Iranian Exports: U.S. Officials

◢ US officials said the global oil market can withstand the removal of all Iranian crude exports this year, a conclusion that could be pivotal in the coming weeks as President Donald Trump weighs whether to end sanctions waivers granted to several nations. The message from American officials comes as OPEC and its allies prepare for a ministerial meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Europe Not to be Trusted: Iran Leader

◢ Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that Europe "cannot be trusted", a week after the EU launched a trade mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Tehran. “These days there's talk of the Europeans and their proposals. My advice is that they shouldn't be trusted, just like the Americans," he said at a meeting with air force officials, his website reported.

Amid Cool Response, US Says Warsaw Conference Not Aimed at Iran

◢ A US-Polish conference next month on the Middle East is not aimed at Iran, a US official said Monday, after key players balked at attending. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to head to Warsaw for the February 13-14 "Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East," which he earlier said would look at "making sure Iran is not a destabilizing influence."

Russia Snubs US-Polish Conference on Iran

◢ Russia on Tuesday slammed a planned US-Polish conference on peace and security in the Middle East as "counterproductive" because of its focus on countering Iran, and said it would not attend. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced plans for the major conference in Warsaw on February 13 and 14 to be attended by ministers from a dozen countries.

Polish Deputy FM in Tehran Over Conference Row

◢ Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Maciej Lang met in Tehran on Monday with his Iranian counterpart in an effort to solve a dispute over a conference his country is to host. Lang described as "constructive" his talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi over the jointly organized conference with the United States on peace and security in the Middle East.

White House Sought Military Strike Against Iran

◢ The White House demanded that the military draft plans for strikes on Iran after attacks in Iraq last year, sparking concern at the Pentagon and State Department, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The report said the move came after a mortar attack launched by an Iran-linked group on the Baghdad diplomatic quarters home to the US embassy in September. No one was hurt by the shells, which landed in an open lot.

US Warns Iran Against Space Launch

◢ The United States on Thursday warned Iran of consequences if it goes ahead with plans to send off three space launch vehicles, charging despite Tehran's denials that the move would violate a UN resolution. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran's satellite-delivery rockets used technology "virtually identical" to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which could eventually include long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Pompeo Urges UN to Get Tough on Iran Missiles

◢ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged the United Nations to tighten restrictions on Iran's missiles, which he warned could strike US allies, but other powers called instead for dialogue. Pompeo headed to New York for a Security Council meeting on Iran, which recently confirmed a medium-range ballistic missile test, arguing it is legal and necessary for its defense.

US Calls for EU Sanctions on Iranian Ballistic Program

◢ The United States urged the European Union on Monday to apply sanctions targeting Iran's ballistic missile program, calling it a "grave and escalating threat." Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and striking parts of Europe and the entire Middle East.

UN Court Tells US to Ease Iran Sanctions in Blow for Trump

◢ The UN's top court ordered the United States on Wednesday to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran, in a stinging rebuke for the Trump administration which nonetheless made clear the decision would change nothing. Tehran declared victory after the International Court of Justice ruled that sanctions reimposed after President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal put Iranian lives at risk.

Germany Says Shares US Goals on Iran

◢ Germany on Wednesday told the United States that it shared its goals on Iran even as the Europeans press ahead to save a denuclearization deal threatened by US sanctions. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has voiced outrage over European plans to preserve commercial ties with Iran.

US Creates 'Iran Action Group' to Up Pressure on Tehran

◢ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new high-level team to focus US and international efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran. The Iran Action Group will drive Washington's "maximum pressure" strategy to change Tehran's behavior, including potentially sanctioning other countries which trade with the country. The group will be headed by Brian Hook as the State Department's Special Representative for Iran.