Britain, Germany Voice Concern Over Iran Tensions As Pompeo Visits Brussels

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

The region is already on edge because of the standoff between Washington and Tehran over the Iran nuclear deal, and Hunt said he would share Britain's concerns with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Monday. Trump has also sent US warplanes and an aircraft carrier to the Gulf.

The United States withdrew unilaterally from it a year ago and resumed unilateral sanctions against Iran, while the referred European countries promised to create a mechanism to avoid the USA restrictions, which still does not work.

Hook said Pompeo, while in Brussels, also discussed reported attacks on several oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Pompeo had cancelled a planned stopover in Moscow to go instead to Brussels "to discuss recent threatening actions and statements" by Iran. Pompeo also met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The U.S., which withdrew from the 2015 global deal to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions, has moved the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers to the Middle East in response to concerns Iran may be planning an attack against American targets. "That continues to be the case", said Pompeo's top Iran adviser, Brian Hook.

Asked if he himself believed there was the possibility of an Iranian role, Hook had no comment.

Since last week, the USA has deployed an aircraft carrier, bombers, an assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Persian Gulf in a sign of escalating tensions in the region. The treaty is at risk of collapsing a year after the USA pulled out and piled on fresh sanctions against Iran.

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The European Union's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini stressed the need for dialogue as "the only and the best way to address differences and avoid escalation" in the region, as she arrived for a scheduled meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers.

Venezuela is only one of a slew of issues where the United States and Russian Federation have clashed.

The US pulled out of the accord saying the agreement does nothing to stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilising the Middle East.

Hook said the bilateral meeting had been "very good".

The three governments, however, dismissed "ultimatums" from Iran last week, after Tehran threatened moves that could jeopardize the agreement.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chairs a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2019.

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