DW – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making surprise visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure that they are “strategically aligned” on Iran. It comes amid escalating tensions after Iran shot down a US drone.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Jeddah on Monday for talks amid heightened tensions with Iran. The top US diplomat was expected to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, before flying on for talks in the United Arab Emirates.
Prior to departure on Sunday, Pompeo said that he would seek out a “global coalition” following Iran’s downing of an American drone.
“We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition,” Pompeo said.
He said he would visit the two countries on his way to India, where he begins a visit on Tuesday.
Pompeo said the goal of his talks with the Saudi kingdom and the UAE would be to deny Iran “the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapon system, to build out their missile program.”
US prepared to negotiate
Pompeo echoed earlier comments by US President Donald Trump, saying the US was prepared to negotiate with Iran — but only with no preconditions on Tehran’s side — in an attempt to ease tensions.
Tensions between Iran and the US have been escalating since Trump withdrew the US from a global nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and began pressuring the country with economic sanctions.
US officials have said that Washington would impose further “significant” sanctions on Iran on Monday.
Iran dismissed the impact of any new US sanctions, saying they were “just propaganda, as all sanctions … have been imposed and there are no more sanctions left,” state-run news agency IRIB quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.