Pompeo seeking 'strong cooperation' with Europeans on Iran

Washington (AFP) –


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reached out to European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal to seek their continued cooperation in countering Tehran's "malign behavior" following the US withdrawal from the landmark accord.

In talks with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany, Pompeo "highlighted the good work that we have done over the past several months to address our common threats and said that he is hopeful we can continue strong cooperation moving forward," the State Department said.

President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that the US was exiting the 2015 nuclear accord was met with widespread dismay by its other signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

During recent conversations with Britain's Boris Johnson, France's Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany's Heiko Maas, Pompeo stressed that they "share strong interests in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon and in countering the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities in the region," according to a statement.

America's top diplomat said Sunday that Washington still wants to work with Europe to counter Iran's "malign behavior," and was working hard to thrash out a more wide-ranging deal with its European partners.

"I'm 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," he said.

While he has committed to remaining in the nuclear agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron floated the idea of a supplemental deal on Iran during a visit to Washington last month.

But even as Pompeo talked up coordination with America's allies, Trump's new National Security Advisor John Bolton reminded Europe over the weekend that its companies could face sanctions if they continue to do business with the Islamic republic.