WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned on Thursday he was keen to go to Iran for talks amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, but additionally known as on Japan, Britain and different nations to join a maritime force to guard oil tankers crusing via the Strait of Hormuz.
FILE PHOTO – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a joint information convention with President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele on the Presidential House in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Asked if he can be keen to go to Tehran, Pompeo mentioned in an interview with Bloomberg TV: “Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”
Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since final 12 months, when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying it was not robust sufficient. Washington additionally reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Trump and Iranian leaders have each publicly mentioned talks had been attainable, however the prospect for dialogue appeared to recede on Wednesday when the highest navy adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mentioned Tehran wouldn’t negotiate with Washington beneath any circumstances.
The relationship between the 2 international locations has come beneath elevated strained over the previous three months following assaults on oil tankers within the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran.
In a separate interview broadcast by Fox News, Pompeo mentioned that Washington had already requested Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and different nations to join a deliberate maritime safety initiative within the Middle East.
“Every country that has an interest in ensuring that those waterways are open and crude oil and other products can flow through the Strait of Hormuz needs to participate,” Pompeo mentioned.
A senior diplomat in Japan, Washington’s key Asian ally, advised Reuters that Pompeo had talked with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by phone on Friday, however that Japan was not ready to resolve if or the way it might join any maritime force till the United Sates supplied a blueprint of how such an operation would work.
“We don’t know where they want to lead,” he mentioned, asking not to be recognized as a result of he was not licensed to speak to the media.
Pompeo’s feedback got here after Iran on Wednesday examined what appeared to be a medium-range ballistic missile that traveled about 1,000 km (620 miles), mentioned a U.S. protection official, who spoke on situation of anonymity. The check didn’t pose a risk to delivery or any U.S. personnel within the area, the official mentioned.
Reporting by Makini Brice, David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; enhancing by Leslie Adler
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