U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected in Brussels on Monday to meet with top EU officials in order to discuss “urgent matters,” namely surrounding an endangered nuclear deal with Iran. Pompeo’s last-minute trip was likely triggered by Iran’s decision on May 8 to drop a number of commitments it agreed to in a deal known as the JCPOA. He was originally expected in Moscow for a diplomatic visit.
The deal — originally signed by the United States, the European Union, the five permanent members of the UN security council and Iran to halt the latter’s nuclear advancements — was already in bad shape, after the U.S. last year decided to unilaterally withdraw from it.
Iran’s move was followed by an ultimatum to EU officials to take action against U.S.-imposed sanctions crippling Iranian oil and banking — or risk seeing Iran walk away from other commitments.
The EU, which staunchly supports maintaining the deal even without American support, was quick to reject Iran’s 60-day ultimatum, putting a major achievement of the Obama administration’s efforts at limiting nuclear arms development at risk of implosion.
Pompeo’s communication team gave no major details regarding his Monday agenda in Brussels but said that the U.S secretary would meet with representatives of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three major EU signatories of the deal.
Tensions have been brewing between the U.S. and Iran, two nuclear-armed nations, with the Americans accusing the Middle Eastern power of preparing “imminent attacks to U.S. interests in the region.”
On Friday, the U.S. Pentagon announced it was sending a warship loaded with military vehicles and missiles, adding to the aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers that have already been deployed to the region.