Iran high on Pompeo’s Russia agenda: U.S.

May 11, 2019

TEHRAN – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to Russia next week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over the crisis in Venezuela and the Trump administration’s hardline policy on Iran, the State Department said Friday, AP reported.

Pompeo's meeting with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be the highest-level face-to-face talks between the two countries since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 

The State Department said Pompeo and Putin and Lavrov would discuss “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges” facing the two countries. A senior department official said in addition to Venezuela and Iran, the talks would include arms control, stalled U.S. nuclear negotiations with North Korea, Syria, Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and Washington’s concerns about Russian election interference efforts.

As tensions between Washington and Tehran over re-imposed U.S. sanctions have heightened in recent weeks, Moscow has sided with Iran in calling for the 2015 nuclear deal to remain in place. Iran said on May 8 it would partially end its compliance with the deal unless European nations are able to circumvent the sanctions and provide it with benefits it was due under the accord, from which Trump withdrew last year.

This week, the U.S. said it was dispatching an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East in response to purported intelligence that Iran is preparing to retaliate for the sanctions with attacks on American interests in the region.

MH/PA

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