United Kingdom warns of "unintended" outcome in Iran-US standoff

United Kingdom warns of

United Kingdom warns of "unintended" outcome in Iran-US standoff

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to Russian Federation next week for talks with President Vladimir Putin amid heightened U.S. -Russia tensions over the crisis in Venezuela and the Trump administration's hardline policy on Iran, the State Department said Friday.

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told reporters traveling with Pompeo that in Brussels, the secretary of state "shared information and intelligence with allies" since "Europe shares our concerns about stability in the Gulf and the Middle East".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shake hands as they pose for a photo prior to their talks in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019.

Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo publicly clashed with Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela.

The statement, which had been released on Thursday, said a Montenegrin court's conviction in absentia of two Russian intelligence officers for plotting to overthrow the Balkan country's government and prevent it from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was "a clear victory for the rule of law, laying bare Russia's brazen attempt to undermine the sovereignty of an independent European nation".

Relations have always been strained by allegations - denied by Moscow - that Russian Federation tried to influence the results of the 2016 US presidential election.

Pompeo was due to meet Putin later on Tuesday for talks.

Trump spoke with Putin by telephone on May 3, and said they discussed the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globe's top three atomic powers. The official would not be specific about any particular agreement Pompeo would push.

As well as the issue of interference in USA elections, the two men also clashed over Venezuela, with Lavrov sharply criticising Washington for trying to undermine President Nicolas Maduro, who Pompeo said must now step down in the face of economic crisis and large-scale protests against his rule. "We have interests that are definitely different and there will be places where we run into hard stops pretty quickly, but there is no doubt there was a desire to begin to try and find paths where we can make real progress on places where we have overlapping interests".

Pompeo said he came to Russian Federation because President Trump is "committed to improve this relationship".

Pompeo is the highest-ranking USA official to see the Russian president since last July, when Trump met Putin in Helsinki.

In response, Russian Federation has accused the USA of illegally interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Brussels on Monday to discuss "pressing matters" including the Iran nuclear deal, as the European signatories to the accord meet for talks on how to prevent its collapse.

Washington has warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region and said it was deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran.

The Europeans have set up a complicated barter-type system to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and so evade possible USA sanctions.

The U.S. administration, under President Donald Trump, withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Pompeo had been due to meet US embassy staff and members of the business community in Moscow on Monday before heading to Sochi.

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