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USA Not Seeking War with Iran: Pompeo

SOCHI – US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on Tuesday that his country was not trying to wage war on Iran, despite a spike in tension that saw the Pentagon send nuclear-capable bombers to the region, Associated France Press reported Wednesday.
Pompeo’s comments came during his first official visit to Russia, a major donor to Tehran, who blamed the current crisis on Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal. “We are not fundamentally seeking to wage war on Iran,” Pompeo told a joint press conference after an interview with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Sochi, a seaside town in the Mediterranean.
But he added: “We have also made it clear to the Iranians that if US interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond appropriately.”
“We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country,” said Pompeo, noting in part Tehran’s support for Houthis in Yemen attacked by the US ally, Saudi Arabia.
Houthi rebels “launch missiles in areas where Russians and Americans circulate. These missiles could easily kill a Russian or an American, “said Pompeo.
For his part, Lavrov said that Moscow would work “so that this situation does not fall into a military scenario”.
“I hope that reason will triumph,” Lavrov said, adding that he hoped that reports in the US media that President Donald Trump is planning to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran would be wrong.
Trump himself rejected the New York Times report, saying it was “false news”, without excluding the deployment of “many more” soldiers in the future.
Pompeo was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at his home in Sochi later that evening for the bilateral talks at the highest level for almost a year.
Earlier on Tuesday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized what he called Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, saying it would only tarnish Tehran.
The United States has recently increased its pressure by deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and bombers with nuclear capabilities to counter threats vaguely described by Iran.
UN inspectors said Iran was complying with the deal and Moscow last week denounced new US sanctions on the country’s mining industry, calling for new talks to save the nuclear deal.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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