US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and talked about secret "nuclear activities" in the country. The Iranian regime's lack of cooperation with the IAEA raises questions about possible "undeclared nuclear materials and activities," Pompeo wrote on Twitter. "This fits in with the '40-year-long pattern of lies of Iran.'" The world will not fall for it, and Iran will be barred all the way to a possible nuclear bomb, it said.
Pompeo did not explain his suspicion that Iran was pursuing secret nuclear activities. Most recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of destroying a secret nuclear weapons facility after it was discovered by Israel.
Iran violates provisions of the nuclear agreement
The Iranian leadership recently publicly announced its intention to phase out the provisions of the 2015 International Atomic Energy Agreement. Last week, President Hassan Ruhani announced that the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency would expand the expansion of national nuclear technology and research. The Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed on Monday that Iran has continued to break away from the restrictions of the nuclear agreement. For example, Iranian researchers have installed additional centrifuges that can be used for faster and more efficient uranium enrichment.
With its partial exit, Iran intends to put pressure on the European negotiating partners to circumvent the US sanctions against the country and to normalize economic relations. This was pledged to Iran at the conclusion of the agreement in 2015 - and France, Britain and Germany want to stick to it.
By contrast, the US unilaterally terminated the agreement last year. Since then, the US leadership has been trying to force Iran to use massive economic sanctions to negotiate a new, broader and stricter agreement.
Trump apparently still willing to meet Ruhani
In the meantime Pompeo spoke positively about a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and the Iranian leadership. Speaking to journalists, he asked if he could imagine Trump meeting with the Iranian leadership on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month: "Sure."
Even US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the joint press conference, Trump was ready for a meeting with Iran's head of state Hassan Ruhani "without preconditions" ready. However, the US policy of "maximum pressure" on Tehran will continue. Thus, Mnuchin announced new sanctions against Iran and allies of the country. The punitive measures are aimed, among others, at leaders of the Al-Kuds Brigades - the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite force active abroad - and the Shiite Hezbollah militia. The US government justifies these sanctions with "terrorist" activities.
Trump had recently signaled several times readiness for a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president. The Iranian president had rejected this repeatedly. At best, negotiations in the multilateral framework of the so-called 5 + 1 group, which had negotiated the nuclear agreement of 2015, are conceivable, Ruhani said last week. As a precondition for such a meeting, however, the US would have to lift its sanctions.