US urges Europe to impose sanctions on Iran over missiles

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters at the US Capitol after briefing senators in Washington, DC on November 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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US urges Europe to impose sanctions on Iran over missiles

  • Pompeo is urging Europe to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities
  • The US and several European countries condemned an Iranian missile launch over the weekend

BRUSSELS: The Trump administration is urging Europe to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program.
The call comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to meet European officials in Brussels this week and after the US and others condemned an Iranian missile launch over the weekend.
Iran is expected to be a major topic of conversation when Pompeo meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels on Monday night. Pompeo also plans to talk about Iran when he meets his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday while he is in Belgium for a meeting of NATO counterparts.
US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook rejected Iran’s insistence that its missile program is defensive.
He told reporters traveling with Pompeo that Iran’s continued missile development and testing is a threat to the region and beyond and in defiance of UN Security Council demands.
Hook said US discussions with the Europeans about missile sanctions are gaining traction. Those talks center on slapping penalties on companies and people involved in Iran’s program.
“It is a grave and escalating threat, and nations around the world, not just Europe, need to do everything they can to be targeting Iran’s missile program,” Hook said.
Hook’s comments on Monday were the latest salvo in an escalating US campaign against Iran since President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May.
“Iran is on the wrong track, and our campaign of maximum economic pressure is designed to starve the regime of revenue it needs,” he said.
On Thursday, Hook accused Iran of violating a UN ban on Iranian arms exports by sending weapons to its proxies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
On Saturday, Pompeo denounced Iran for test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads that could reach parts of Europe.
“We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence,” Pompeo said.


US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 53 min 12 sec ago
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US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters