Pompeo Says U.S. Ready to Talk to Iran ‘Anytime,’ Pressure to Continue

‘It's not just an economic pressure campaign… it's isolation through diplomacy as well’, U.S. secretary of state says

Reuters
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 19, 2020.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 19, 2020.Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds,AP
Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said authorities in Washington were prepared to talk to Iran "anytime", but that it needed to "fundamentally" change its behaviour and that a campaign of maximum pressure against it would continue.

"We are not rushed, the pressure campaign continues. It's not just an economic pressure campaign... it's isolation through diplomacy as well", Pompeo told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa before boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Tension between the two countries has risen since last month when President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani.

Back in January, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he "didn't see" specific evidence that a top Iranian military commander was planning attacks on four U.S. embassies, as the president initially claimed.

"The President directed this action in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months by Iran and Iran-backed militias on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East region," said a Trump administration report sent to the American Congress.

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