U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will work with as many allies as possible to reach a new deal to halt “all of Iran’s nuclear and nonnuclear threats.”
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure, coordinate with [the military] on deterrence efforts, support the Iranian people…and hold out the prospects for a new deal with Iran," Pompeo told a House Foreign Affairs Committee budget hearing on May 23.
“It simply needs to change its behavior," Pompeo said of Iran. President Donald Trump long complained about the nuclear accord, negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and signed in 2015, saying Tehran was violating the "spirit" of it by continuing to test ballistic missiles.
Trump also said Iran's support militant activities in the region violated the pact, prompting him to announce the U.S. withdrawal earlier this month. Germany, France, and Britain have been trying to save the agreement, which offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear ambitions.
The other two signatories to the deal, China and Russia, also want to maintain it. “We seek to work with as many partners, friends, and allies as possible to achieve the objectives to stop all of Iran’s nuclear and nonnuclear threats," Pompeo said.
Pompeo is scheduled later in the day to meet in Washington with Germany's foreign minister for talks expected to center on the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal. Pompeo also told the House committee that the United States will not tolerate Russian interference in 2018 US elections and will oppose "continued efforts to do so."
He said the Trump administration had made "enormous efforts" in countering Russian threats. "It is light years better than what was done in the previous administration...[But] we have not been able to achieve effective deterrence of some of these efforts of the Russians," he said, adding that some U.S. allies in Europe "are even more threatened by the Russians."
The U.S. intelligence community concluded in January 2017 that Russia engaged in a wide-ranging hacking-and-propaganda campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Moscow denies the allegations despite mounting evidence pointing to an organized effort. On Ukraine, Pompeo said Russia must honor its commitments under the so-called Minsk accords designed to bring peace to eastern Ukraine.
Since war broke out in March 2014, fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces has killed more than 10,300 people. Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords -- September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed to resolve the conflict -- have failed to hold.