All tagged Mike Pompeo

Pompeo Vows That U.S. Will Protect Shipping in Persian Gulf

◢ There’s “no doubt” Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers leaving the Persian Gulf last week, and the U.S. will guarantee safe commercial navigation going forward with its partners, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said. “The United States is going make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said on Sunday.

Japan PM to Meet Iran's Khamenei to Mediate With US

◢ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later this month with Tokyo hoping to mediate between Washington and Tehran, a report said Sunday. As tensions intensify between Iran and Japan's key ally the United States, Abe has reportedly proposed serving as a go-between and is said to be weighing up a state visit to Iran.

U.S. Warns Europe That Its Iran Workaround Could Face Sanctions

◢ The Trump administration escalated its battle with European allies over the fate of the Iran nuclear accord. Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, signaled in a May 7 letter obtained by Bloomberg that INSTEX the European vehicle to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.

US Fingers Iran on Gulf Attacks but Eases Tone

◢ President Donald Trump's administration charged Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for sabotage of Gulf oil interests but said its robust response had stopped potential attacks on Americans. US officials appeared to be toning down weeks of fiery warnings to Iran before delivering a classified briefing to the full Congress, where rival Democrats have accused the administration of hyping intelligence.

Iran Accuses US of 'Unacceptable' Escalation in Tensions

◢ Iran accused the United States Thursday of an "unacceptable" escalation of tensions and said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal with world powers. Tensions were already high after President Donald Trump walked away a year ago from the accord, which eased international sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran Calls Ship Attacks off UAE 'Alarming', Urges Probe

◢ Iran on Monday called attacks on ships in the Gulf "alarming", after the UAE and Saudi Arabia said several vessels including oil tankers were damaged in acts of sabotage off the Emirati coast. "The incidents in the Sea of Oman are alarming and regrettable," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in an English-language statement on the ministry's website.

Iran Tells Trump: Don't Wait for Us to Pick Up the Phone

◢ Iranian officials rebuffed President Donald Trump’s suggestion that they call him to try to defuse frictions as the U.S. ratcheted up its actions against Tehran. Several top Iranian aides and lawmakers predicted Sunday that the current tensions wouldn’t lead to war, calling the U.S. deployment of an aircraft carrier, warship, bomber jets and missile defenses to the Middle East a propaganda stunt.

Trump Says 'Open to Talk' to Iran

◢ US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is open to talks with the Iranian leadership, amid mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran. "What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me," Trump told reporters at the White House.

Pompeo Tells U.K. Not to Go `Wobbly' in Stinging Rebuke

◢ U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo fired a broadside of criticism at the U.K.’s approach to national security, demanding America’s long-standing ally takes a far tougher approach to China and Iran, and to hurry up and deliver Brexit. His criticism comes at a particularly sensitive time for Prime Minister Theresa May, who is struggling to complete Britain’s divorce from the European Union and under daily pressure to resign.

Pompeo in Baghdad on Unannounced Visit

◢ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Baghdad late Tuesday on an unannounced visit, an Iraqi government source told AFP, cancelling a trip to Germany amid escalating US-Iran tensions. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the high security nature of the visit, said Pompeo was set to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.

Trump to Sanction Allies Over Iran Oil, Risking Friction

◢ The United States said Monday it would start imposing sanctions on friends such as India that buy Iranian oil, in its latest aggressive step to counter Tehran that could jeopardize US relationships. The announcement sent global crude prices spiraling higher, although President Donald Trump tweeted that Saudi Arabia and other US allies would"more than make up" for decreases in Iranian oil.

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.