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US And UK Talking Alignment Of Policy On Iran, JCPOA

U.K. - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a public discussion event with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London, Britain, January 30, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has once again described the Islamic Republic of Iran as the world's "largest sponsor of terrorism," adding that the leadership of the Iranian regime is responsible for the "humanitarian disaster" in Syria and Lebanon.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his counterpart, Dominic Raab, in London, Pompeo accused Iran of backing assassination campaigns throughout Europe, and insisted late Thursday that Washington was convinced that the work the United States has done to put enormous pressure on the Islamic Republic economy "has reduced Tehran's capability to harm people right here in the United Kingdom."

"We think denying them (the Islamic Republic leadership) money and wealth is the right way to force them to make a difficult decision, so in effect, Iranian people will get their opportunity," Pompeo noted.

The U.K. Foreign Secretary, for his part, argued that there is not much difference between London and Washington towards Tehran and that it is merely a matter of pathways to get to the same desired result.

Referring to the existence of an appetite for a more "wide-ranging rapprochement" with Iran, Raab affirmed that it needed a change in the behavior of the Islamic Republic leaders.

"This comes down to a decision by the regime in Tehran. Does it want to take the steps to respect international law and to come back into the community of nations? And it can only demonstrate that by its behavior: On the nuclear issue, on supporting terrorism, and frankly on the appalling treatment of dual nationals--- And we can't make that choice for the regime in Tehran. What we can do is hold them to account, every step of the way," Raab said.

Meanwhile, Raab lambasted Tehran for reducing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, asserting that it must be "held accountable" for the reduction and for its "destabilizing behavior" in the Middle East.

However, Raab defended JCPOA that Washington dropped in May 2018, noting, "Look, you've got the JCPOA and our different views that we have on it, but it's the only deal in town at the moment. Our approach--- is to hold the Iranian government to account for that non-compliance. That's why the E3 (UK, France, Germany) has triggered the dispute resolution mechanism. We want to say to Iran we're calling you out. Equally.. we want them to come back to compliance."

Nonetheless, Raab immediately reminded that "There isn't a huge difference "between Europeans and Americans on Iran on a broader deal [with Iran]."

Iran began reducing its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal after Washington ratcheted up sanctions pressure last May. Now, it is enriching more uranium and at a higher grade.

Since its withdrawal from the JCPOA, Washington has repeatedly insisted that it is seeking a new round of comprehensive talks with Tehran to address all international concerns over the Islamic Republic's behavior, including its missile program, sponsoring terrorism, and destabilizing role in the region.

The Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, has insisted that only removal of Washington's sanctions on Tehran could pave the way for new rounds of talks between the two.

Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said negotiating with America is a "lethal poison"; negotiation with the current American administration is a "twice lethal poison."

The E3 (UK, France, and Germany) announced on 14 January 2020 that they were launching a complaint against Iran under the dispute resolution mechanism built into the JCPOA.