Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Seeking Partners: Pompeo Lands in Saudi Arabia for Iran Crisis Talks

Abha Regional Airport Yemen's Houthi Faction Claims Responsibility for Drone Attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha Jizan Airports
Patty Aguilar | 25 June, 2019, 18:36

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he called off a military strike to retaliate for Iran's downing of an unmanned U.S. drone, and he said on Sunday that he was not seeking war with Iran.

On May 8, Iran said it would reduce some of its nuclear commitments unless the remaining partners helped it circumvent USA sanctions and sell its oil. Tehran denies the charges.

The top USA diplomat had told reporters before departing on the trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that Washington wanted talks with Tehran, even as it planned to impose new economic sanctions.

Speaking as he left Washington for the Arabian Gulf, he said he would talk with representatives in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi about how to "make sure that we are all strategically aligned".

"We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday", tweeted Trump, who has also deployed additional troops to the Middle East.

The JCPOA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal that the USA unilaterally withdrew from in May a year ago.

Iran has denied attacking tankers or supplying the Houthis.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have flared further after Iran on Thursday shot down a USA drone.

The penalties won't have a significant impact on a country that's already in recession and facing heavy sanctions from the U.S. Still, the new restrictions serve as symbolic reprimand for the attacks, according to former Treasury officials.

The cyberattacks disabled Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said.

"They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack", Mr Jahromi said on Twitter.

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On June 21, Trump said he had pulled out of launching conventional air strikes on Iran because he had been told that 150 Iranians would be killed.

Pompeo said the goal of his talks with the Saudi kingdom and the UAE would be to deny Iran "the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapon system, to build out their missile program".

"We're prepared to negotiate with no preconditions", he said. They're going to be so happy, and I'm going to be their best friend.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on June 24 that the threat of more USA sanctions "is a reflection of the deliberate and purposeful escalation policy" while adding that the measures were "totally counterproductive and risky".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday with US National Security Adviser John Bolton in Jerusalem.

The more recent attack came just one day before Mike Pompeo, the American secretary of state, was set to visit Saudi Arabia to discuss the rising tensions with Iran.

"Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake USA prudence and discretion for weakness", Bolton began.

No one has granted Iran a "hunting license in the Middle East", he said.

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States' "interventionist military presence" for fanning the flames.

Within few days of the United States claims that the Pentagon had launched a long-planned cyberattack to disable Iran's rocket launch systems, Jahromi wrote in a tweet, "They try hard, but have not yet carried out a successful attack". "Neither side wants a war here but there is national pride at stake on both sides", he said, adding that technical indicators were also pointing to further gains.

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