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Mike Pompeo to address UN Security Council over Iran

US secretary of state's remarks follow Gulf tanker attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to address the UN Security Council about Iran on August 20, 2019. Reuters
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to address the UN Security Council about Iran on August 20, 2019. Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the UN Security Council on Tuesday in a speech that will focus on Iran after the recent tanker attacks near the Strait of Hormuz.

Sources at the UN in New York told The National that the US diplomat will speak during a council meeting about challenges to peace and security in the Middle East.

“Our understanding is that he is coming here to talk about Iran,” a leading member of the council said.

The appearance will be his first at the UN since last December when he unsuccessfully urged members of the council to take action against Iran over its ballistic missile programme.

Since then the US has intensified its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation in April, a year after the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal with world powers.

The State Department also sanctioned Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in June before taking the same action against Foreign Minister Javad Zarif two weeks ago.

Mr Pompeo's trip to the UN comes after skirmishes in the Gulf over the summer that have heightened the prospect of US military action against Tehran.

The US, using video evidence, blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, allegations that Tehran denies.

The IRGC then shot down an American spy drone in June, leading the US to prepare retaliatory strikes.

But President Donald Trump backed down on military action, reportedly 10 minutes before missiles were to be launched.

Concern over shipping has led Britain to join a US-led naval mission to protect vessels travelling through the strategically important Strait of Hormuz following the tanker attacks, but Germany and France have refused to do so.

Iran has said there can be no new negotiations over the nuclear deal, to which Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia remain signed up, until the US reverses its position on sanctions.

Iran has in recent weeks started to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal in response to sanctions from the US Treasury and State Department, saying it is not financially benefiting as was promised when the agreement was struck in 2015.

Updated: August 16, 2019 05:57 PM

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