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  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with the press as two members of his staff look on as he flies to the Middle East on January 7, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with the press as two members of his staff look on as he flies to the Middle East on January 7, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 January 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in the Middle East in a bid to pressure Iran from what CNBC are calling, "influencing the region through its state-sponsored terrorism operations."

In what appears to be another move that undermines U.S. President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in the Middle East to prevent what CNBC are calling, "influencing the region through its state-sponsored terrorism operations."

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The trip comes at a time of conflicting Trump administration statements about a planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.

Prior to touching down in Jordan, Pompeo said that the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw troops from Syria is a "change of tactics" but not the U.S. commitment "to the defeat of the caliphate or of ISIS globally." Pompeo also said, "There's no change in our counter-Iran strategy."

After the trip to Jordan, Pompeo plans to visit Egypt and the Gulf nations. He told reporters he plans to talk to allies about “modalities by which we may continue to apply pressure” on Iran, branded by Washington a sponsor of terrorism.

When asked about confusion among allies with regards to the conflicting reports of troop withdrawal from Syria, Pompeo stated: “I’ve actually spoken to them all. 

Despite Pompeo's revelations, an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's said on Monday that American officials had approached him during a visit to Afghanistan to request talks with Tehran, according to Iranian news reports.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's National Security Council, told a gathering of international defence and security officials in Tehran that US officials approached him twice in Kabul last month.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased since last May, when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, and then reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic that had been lifted under the accord.


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