Published: Thu, May 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Pompeo Makes Secret Trip to Baghdad amid Iran Tensions

Pompeo Makes Secret Trip to Baghdad amid Iran Tensions

Speaking to reporters after a series of meetings with foreign leaders at the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council Monday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the United States is watching a credible threat from Iran and acting accordingly.

Mr Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said the move sent "a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interest or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force".

The concern about a threat from Iranian forces comes after Washington has ramped up sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program in recent months.

He expressed United States support for Iraqi sovereignty and said: "We don't want anyone interfering in their country, certainly not by attacking another nation inside of Iraq".

Iranian media have said that Rouhani will announce retaliatory measures on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of Trump's pullout from a 2015 nuclear accord under which Tehran drastically scaled back its sensitive work.

An Iraqi government source confirmed the meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi but did not elaborate on the details.

"So we urge the Iranians to think very long and hard before breaking that deal", Hunt said.

"You've all seen the reports that there have been escalating - information that indicates Iran is escalating their activity", Pompeo said.

"The United States has an obligation to ensure that places where we want to operate, places where American information is, places where we have our national security resident, they operate inside trusted networks", Pompeo said in London.

"It was evident in my conversations both with Jeremy and with Prime Minister May that the special relationship does not simply endure, it is thriving", he said.

The Pentagon said on May 7 that the USA bomber task force being sent would consist of long-range, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

Iraq has a close relationship with the USA, which is leading the worldwide coalition in the war against the ISIS terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

But in response to a question about threats from Iran or its proxies on USA forces in Iraq, the top USA diplomat mentioned both Iraq and Jordan.

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland, May 6, 2019.

The "campaign to continue to prevent ISIS terror inside of Iraq itself is something that's very central ... to the Iraqi government", Pompeo said. He said USA military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen has sowed "misery, agony and carnage".

The Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a "new deal" that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what officials call its "malign behaviour" across the Middle East.

Mr Pompeo also said he spoke to Iraqi officials about their energy and infrastructure needs, especially in the electricity, oil and natural gas sectors.

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