US' Pompeo skips Moscow trip to talk Iran in Brussels

US' Pompeo skips Moscow trip to talk Iran in Brussels

US' Pompeo skips Moscow trip to talk Iran in Brussels

On his first trip to Russian Federation as US secretary of state, Pompeo is expected to discuss with Putin and Lavrov the "aggressive and destabilising actions" Moscow has taken around the world, a senior state department official said last week.

Britain warned Monday that armed conflict might be sparked "by accident" amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with officials from European powers that are racing to salvage a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

Iranian leaders announced last week they would scale back their cooperation under the 2015 agreement, forcing Europe to choose between defying Washington or kissing goodbye to the 2015 deal.

Lavrov urged the Europeans on Monday to uphold the Iranian nuclear deal.

At least one, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he feared that unintentional escalation from the USA and Iran could spark a conflict - an unusually bold statement that appeared to assign equal culpability to Washington and Tehran.

US President Donald Trump said that he would meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the summit of the Group of 20 (G20) next month.

An EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting is scheduled in Brussels on Monday, but the State Department did not offer specific details of Pompeo's revised agenda.

European Union foreign ministers are set to discuss efforts to keep Iran in line with its nuclear commitments on Monday.

Trump said that Putin had assured him that Russian Federation was not involved in Venezuela - directly contradicting Pompeo and other top officials who for weeks have demanded that Moscow stop backing leftist leader Nicolas Maduro, whom Washington is trying to topple. Trump has also beefed up the USA military presence in the Gulf to pressure Iran.

Over the past month, the U.S. has taken an increasingly aggressive position against Iran.

"Secretary Pompeo will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners to ensure the security of our mutual interests in the Middle East and around the world", Ortagus added. "We share the same threat assessment".

But she noted that the deal stands a chance if a joint effort is made along with other signatories of the agreement, including China and Russian Federation.

After Brussels Pompeo will travel to Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks on Iran with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The United States withdrew unilaterally from it a year ago and resumed unilateral sanctions against Iran, while the referred European countries promised to create a mechanism to avoid the USA restrictions, which still does not work.

Related news