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Mogherini Exchange of Pompeo and EU Warns About Iranian Military Escalation

WASHINGTON – The United States and the EU have been in disagreement since Washington unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal last May and reinstated sanctions against Tehran, threatening to impose sanctions on allies if they continued their trade relations with the Islamic Republic, Sputnik said Tuesday.
Avoiding military escalation would be the most responsible approach to Iran, EU Foreign Ministers said to Mike Pompeo on an impromptu trip to Brussels on Monday to discuss recent tensions with Tehran.
“Mike Pompeo heard very clearly from us today, not only from myself, but also from other ministers of the EU Member States, that we are living in a crucial and delicate moment, where we need to adopt a more relevant attitude to adopt,” Federica Mogherini, head of foreign policy of the European Union, told the press after a meeting with foreign ministers of the bloc on preservation of the Iranian nuclear agreement, and should, in our view, be as restrictive as possible and avoid any escalation on the military side.
While Brussels called for restraint, Pompeo, who abruptly canceled his visit to Russia on Monday to hold talks in Brussels, instead shared information on Iran’s “escalation” of threats to the US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook.
“Iran is a growing threat and it seemed like a timely visit on its way to Sochi. The secretary wanted to share some details behind what we said publicly. We believe that Iran should attempt talks instead of threats. They have chosen wrongly by focusing on the threats,” Hook said, citing Pompeo’s planned visit to Russia on Tuesday for talks with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to reports, the Spanish Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, has ordered the “temporary withdrawal of the frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104) from the battle group of the carrier Abraham Lincoln while she was in the Middle -East”.
The decision was made at a meeting of EU defense ministers on Monday, with ABC journalists saying it could trigger a diplomatic crisis between Spain and the United States.
Earlier in the day, the New York Times announced that the Pentagon had developed a plan to deploy 120,000 troops in the Middle East in case Iran decided to accelerate the development of the nuclear weapon or attack American forces.
This development follows the announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 8 that Tehran would partially suspend its commitments under the Joint Global Action Plan, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. Rouhani has set a deadline of 60 days for the five remaining signatories – France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China – to protect Iran’s interests under this agreement, otherwise the country would resume uranium enrichment at higher levels.
In recent weeks, tensions between the United States and Iran have reached a boiling point.
Washington has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and an operational bomber force into the Persian Gulf in a “clear and unequivocal” message to Tehran.
The United States has also designated the Guards of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, while Pompeo has accused Iran of targeting US forces in Syria and Iraq. He also blamed Tehran for the deaths of hundreds of US servicemen. This decision pushed Tehran to recognize the American CENTCOM as a terrorist group in reaction.
On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, which implied the lifting of anti-Tehran sanctions in exchange for Iran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
Washington has also re-imposed all sanctions and imposed new ones, with the stated goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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