US continues to press Iran, including in Iraq

The US continues, in a variety of ways, its campaign to apply pressure on Iran and isolate the regime.

WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan24) – The US continues, in a variety of ways, its campaign to apply pressure on Iran and isolate the regime.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended a UN meeting two days ago, convened to evaluate Iran’s compliance with Security Council Resolution 2231, which was passed on July 20, 2015, to support the Iranian nuclear deal concluded a few days before.

On Wednesday, Pompeo repeatedly warned of Iran’s ongoing missile development programs—which violate multiple Security Council Resolutions, emphasizing that the funds Tehran has gained as a result of the nuclear deal have facilitated other forms of Iranian aggression.

Pompeo began by noting that the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ airspace division, Amir Hajizadeh, “had recently boasted” that Iran has the capability to build missiles with a range greater than 2,000 kilometers.

Hajizadeh also said, Pompeo continued, that “there are many ‘enemy bases’ within 800 kilometers of Iran—in other words, within striking distance of Iranian missiles.” Of course, that would include US facilities, both military and diplomatic, in numerous countries.

“Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East,” with more than ten missile systems “in its inventory or in development,” the Secretary of State said.

Pompeo noted that France, Germany, and the UK, as well as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel, had all presented the UN with evidence of Iran’s continuing missile programs.

He explained that Iran was “transferring ballistic missile systems to Shia militias in Iraq,” and it was “training and equipping Shia militias” there, as well as “harboring al-Qaeda, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon,” and “facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab.”

Iran was also on the agenda when US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited Iraq earlier this week. As Kurdistan 24 has learned, Perry told the Iraqis that the US would give them an additional 45-day waiver on their imports of Iranian energy, but Washington expects them to make serious efforts to develop their country’s indigenous capabilities and wean their country off Iranian supplies.

As the head of a large trade delegation, Perry conveyed a more upbeat message in Baghdad as well: “Open up your markets. America is serious. We want to invest in your country.”

Perry also visited Erbil, where he, similarly, stressed the interest of US businesses in investing in the Kurdistan Region. He praised the resumption of oil exports from Kirkuk through the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) pipeline, suggesting that it was a good beginning and more oil should be sent out through that route.

“We’re here. We’re serious, we’re in it together,” one informed source summarized Perry’s message, “and we really want to make sure that Iraq becomes an independent energy hub, separate from Iran.”

Editing by Nadia Riva