U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has, for the second time this week canceled his travel plans because of escalating tensions with Iran.
This time, it was a planned visit to Greenland.
Instead, Pompeo returned to Washington following an unscheduled visit to Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi leaders. The Secretary had planned a four-nation tour of Europe, which would have wrapped up in Greenland with a discussion of the Trump administration’s Arctic policies.
According to the State Department, the Secretary still plans to order a restoration of a permanent U.S. diplomatic presence in Greenland. But meanwhile Pompeo boarded a plane in Iraq and headed straight back to Washington amid the rising tensions with Tehran.
On Sunday, the White House announced the dispatch of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East after receiving intelligence of a concrete threat from Iran to American forces in the region.
“Any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday in a statement. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Wednesday that Tehran would pull out of parts of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, precisely as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump had predicted months earlier.
In response, the Trump administration imposed a new round of sanctions against Tehran affecting the country’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors. The move is designed to further reduce Iran’s revenue, its ability to support the production of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and its proxy terrorist networks throughout the world.
“Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,” Trump warned in a statement announcing the new sanctions. “Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond repair, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran.
“I look forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves.”