Pompeo cancels Moscow trip to hold Iran talks in Brussels – Report

Sputnik – A US Department of State official said Sunday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled his trip to Moscow but will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi, according to Reuters.

According to Reuters, citing a US State Department official on condition of anonymity, Pompeo will participate in talks with European officials on Iran in Brussels on Monday before heading to Russia.

A senior State Department official told reporters on Friday that Pompeo will discuss possible new agreements on arms control and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their planned meetings in Sochi on 14 May.

The upcoming visit to Russia will be the first of its kind for the US secretary of state. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Pompeo and Lavrov are expected to discuss bilateral relations and relevant international problems, including situations in Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. They may also touch upon the Korean question.

On Wednesday, one year after the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran announced that it had discontinued some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and gave the other parties 60 days to ensure Iran’s interests were protected or else the country will resume enriching uranium at higher levels.
Tensions between the US and Iran have been escalating in recent days, and the Pentagon over the weekend deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf in what a senior administration official called a “clear and unmistakable” message to the Islamic Republic.

Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday that Washington was ready to hit back fast and hard in retaliatory strikes against any attacks carried out by Iran or its front-groups and allies.

However, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Sunday that the US aircraft carrier sent to the Middle East does not pose a threat to Iran and now represents only a target.