U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Britain and other European allies to stand with Washington in reining in Iran’s “bloodletting and lawlessness,” after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street on Wednesday.
Pompeo had arrived in London to deliver the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, after he canceled a meeting with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday to make an emergency visit to Iraq, prompted by intelligence reports of an impending Iranian attack on U.S. assets in the Middle East.
Addressing the crowd at London’s Centre for Policy Studies think tank, Pompeo insisted there was hardly any “daylight” between the United States and Europe “on the threat emanating from the Iranian regime.”
The secretary of state noted: “We agree they are operating in defiance of UN ballistic missiles resolution. We agree they fund terror across the Middle East and across the world. We agree they take hostages and repress their own people.”
The disagreements, Pompeo said, were over the different approach taken toward the 2015 nuclear accord which European countries are trying to salvage and from which the United States pulled out in May 2018.
Urging European countries to fall in line with the crippling U.S. sanctions regime, Pompeo stressed, “Our goal is not to hurt Iran or the Iranian people. Our goal is to have Iran behave like a normal nation,” adding, “I am convinced that the Iranian people do not want what it is the Islamic republic leadership is offering them.”
European countries said on Thursday they wanted to preserve Iran‘s nuclear deal but rejected “ultimatums” from Tehran. On Wednesday, Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned the Iranian regime “that if they do not comply with the JCPOA, there will be consequences.”
Exactly one year after withdrawing from the JCPOA, the United States announced new sanctions against Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday, imposing sanctions on the country’s metals industry – the Islamic Republic’s second biggest export earner after oil. The sanctions specifically target Iran’s aluminum, iron, copper, and steel sectors.
The United States also announced that it will not issue further waivers to countries over importing Iranian oil.
[Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr]