Pompeo affirms US exit from Iran deal not aimed at Europeans

WASHINGTON, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed Sunday that the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal “wasn’t aimed at the Europeans.” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday “the withdrawal wasn’t aimed at the Europeans. I worked hard over the short time I’ve been the Secretary of State to try and fix the deal. We couldn’t reach agreement with our E3 partners,” referring to Britain, France and Germany.

He added “I am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program but their missiles and their malign behavior as well.

“I’ll be working closely with the Europeans to try and achieve that,” he affirmed.

He stressed “the sanctions regime that is now in place is very clear about what the requirements are.

“My mission that I’ve been given by President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America. That’s what we’re going to do, and I’ll be hard at it with the Europeans in the next several days,” he affirmed.

Pompeo said that arguments about Iran being more emboldened by Trump’s withdrawal are “ludicrous.” “That’s ludicrous to suggest Iran feels less constraint.

“Indeed, I would argue that they felt they could act with impunity. They watched. They watched Europe put exactly zero sanctions on their missile program during the JCPOA,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser John Bolton, speaking to CNN and ABC also on Sunday, noted the possibility of the Trump administration sanctioning European companies that deal with Iran, and said those sanctions could ultimately convince Europe to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

Speaking to ABC, Bolton noted that Trump said in announcing the US exit from the Iran nuclear deal that “countries that continue to deal with Iran could face US sanctions.

“Europeans are going to face the effective US sanctions, already are really, because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves US technology, for which the licenses will not be available,” the national security adviser said.

In a separate interview with CNN, Bolton indicated that US sanctions could ultimately convince Europe to pull out of the JCPOA. Following Trump’s announcement of US withdraw from the deal, Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement emphasizing their continued commitment to the nuclear deal.

“I think the issue here is what the Europeans are going to do,” he told CNN. “If they’re going to see that it’s not in their interest to stay in the deal, we’re going to have to watch what the Iranians do.

Source: Kuwait News Agency