Pompeo skips Moscow, visits Brussels for Iran talks

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Federica Mogherini said: "We will continue to support it as much as we can with all our instruments and all our political will".

Secretary of Articulate Mike Pompeo will originate his first outing to Russian Federation, arriving in Moscow on Monday and meeting with Vladimir Putin and his International Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday in Sochi.

UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt spoke in Brussels of the dangers of an "accidentally-triggered" conflict between the USA and Iran over the unravelling of the 2015 pact signed by Tehran, Russia, China, the European Union, the UK, France, Germany and the US.

Germany is working on maintaining a legal channel for trade with Iran, a government spokesman said on Monday, after Iran last week eased curbs on its nuclear programme and threatened moves that might breach a 2015 worldwide nuclear pact.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has expressed concern on Monday over the possibility of an unintentional conflict between Iran and the United States amid recent escalation related to the Iranian nuclear deal.

Pompeo's trip comes a few weeks ahead of a G-20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan, with both U.S. President Donald Trump and Putin expected to attend.

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Pompeo shared information on "escalating" threats from Iran during the meetings, the USA special representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned last week that Tehran could resume uranium enrichment at a higher grade if the European powers, China and Russian Federation did not develop a plan to thwart punitive US sanctions on Iran's banking and energy sectors.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian joined the criticism of the USA, saying Washington's move to step up sanctions against Iran "does not suit us". This is already the most unstable region in the world. "Nobody wants Iran to get possession of an atomic bomb, and that's been achieved so far". The treaty is at risk of collapsing a year after the US pulled out and piled on fresh sanctions against Iran. He plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi tomorrow.

Iran responded by declaring it will scale back compliance with parts of the nuclear deal.

The Europeans' warnings came after the United States deployed an aircraft-carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf to counter an unspecified threat that Washington says has been posed by Iran.

Tensions have been brewing between the USA and Iran, two nuclear-armed nations, with the Americans accusing the Middle Eastern power of preparing "imminent attacks to US interests in the region".

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