Britain warns of Iran-US conflict

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2019

He also noted that "there was no personal message from Putin to Trump".

Washington previous year pulled out of a nuclear deal backed by Europe, Russia and China, which curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief.

"Interference in American elections is unacceptable", Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Pompeo was rebuffed on even some basic requests in Brussels.

Pompeo also met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Pompeo shared information on "escalating" threats from Iran during the meetings, the USA special representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters. "But we've also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion".

Asked if he himself believed there was the possibility of an Iranian role, Hook said: "Don't have any comment".

Some analysts have said that with the growing presence of US military hardware and troops in the Persian Gulf, even the slightest misstep could set off a serious conflict in the region.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's foreign minister, joined the criticism saying Washington's move to step up sanctions against Iran "does not suit us". They made clear that they held the United States, not Iran, to be primarily responsible for that escalation.

Before his meeting with Pompeo, France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Europeans to remain united in support of the nuclear deal, which was signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation, and which the EU helped to negotiate.

British foreign minister Hunt called for "a period of calm" and bluntly warned of the danger of pushing Iran back towards developing nuclear weapons.

Hook said the bilateral meeting had been "very good".

"We agree on much more than we disagree ..."

"As we said before there was no collusion from our government officials and it could not be there". "We are very concerned about Iran's - a lot of the multiple threat streams that have been reported over the last three or four days".

Pompeo identified counter-terrorism and combating nuclear proliferation as two areas where Moscow and Washington could find common ground.

United Nations inspectors have said Iran is complying with the deal, and Moscow last week denounced new USA sanctions on the country's mining industry, calling for new talks to save the nuclear accord. Taking advantage of an ordinary meeting of European Union 28 foreign ministers and High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini that day, Pompeo sought a show of unity of Western allies regarding Iran.

The top US diplomat also issued a few stern warnings to Moscow saying it should refrain from interfering in the 2020 U.S election, free captured Ukrainian sailors and try to make peace with Kyiv.

Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Madrid was considering joining the special trade channel, known as INSTEX, which so far counts France, Germany and Britain as shareholders and could be operational by the end of June.

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