Monday, 27 May, 2019

Putin Urges Tehran to Stick to Nuclear Deal

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo right is greeted by Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in central London US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo right is greeted by Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in central London
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2019, 12:32

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday where the two discussed issues including Iran, Venezuela and the 2020 elections.

During a joint press conference with Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen, Putin said: "I have repeatedly said during the talks with our Iranian partners that, to my mind, it would be more expedient for Iran to remain in this agreement at whatever cost". There is a growing list of issues dividing the two countries - Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, Syria, Venezuela and, with tensions now growing in the Persian Gulf, Iran.

Lavrov, meanwhile, accused the United States of funding Russian nongovernmental organizations, with the intent of interfering in Russia's elections.

But Pompeo told reporters Tuesday he thinks US and Russian officials "now can begin to work together" in a way to begin the process set out in a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for a Syrian-led political transition with a cease-fire, new constitution and elections. Instead, he said, Iran has "chosen the path of resistance", adding that USA officials know it's not in their interest to engage in a hot military conflict.

Putin told Pompeo his recent telephone conversation with Trump raised hopes for an improvement in relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that dealing with Turkey is easier than the European Union.

"However exotic the work of special counsel Mueller was, I have to say that on the whole, he had a very objective investigation", Putin said, according to a translator.

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Pompeo underlined to Putin that Trump wanted to make "our two peoples more successful and, frankly, the world more successful, too".

Citing the International Atomic Energy Agency, Putin said Iran was "fulfilling all of its obligations". Russian Federation is one of the remaining signatories, and Lavrov is likely to stress to Pompeo the deal's importance for worldwide security.

SHAPIRO: Another big issue dividing the countries is Venezuela.

"There is the political process associated with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that has been hung up and I think we mutually now can begin to work together in a way to unlock that", he said. "We want Venezuela to get their democracy back", Pompeo said, alluding to suspicions that Russian support was instrumental in persuading Maduro to cling to power when he was almost dislodged at the beginning of the month.

As for reports that more USA troops could be moved to the Middle East, Pompeo said he would defer to the Defense Department. And he did say that the US does not want to have war.

"We fundamentally do not seek war with Iran, " Pompeo said.

Last week, the United States sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East in response to intelligence that Iran was planning attacks on American interests.

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