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State Department, North Korea disagree over whether latest nuclear talks broke down

Westlake Legal Group 07_AP19182011718251 State Department, North Korea disagree over whether latest nuclear talks broke down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/sweden fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox news fnc/politics fnc article a307d0e2-cd48-51c7-8827-d093f6e16617

North Korea claimed Saturday that negotiations with American diplomats over the totalitarian country’s nuclear program had broken down Saturday, though the State Department later said the comments “do not reflect the content or the spirit” of the discussions.

North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, told reporters through a translator outside Pyongyang’s embassy in Stockholm that working-level talks between officials from Washington and Pyongyang in Stockholm “have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off.”

“The U.S. raised expectations by offering suggestions like a flexible approach, new method and creative solutions, but they have disappointed us greatly and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiation by bringing nothing to the negotiation table,” Kim added, according to Reuters.

NORTH KOREA BLOCKS HIGH-RISE WINDOWS TO PREVENT INFORMATION LEAKS: REPORT

“The U.S. brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK [North Korea] counterparts,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, adding that the U.S. representatives had agreed to return to the negotiating table in two weeks. It was not immediately clear whether the North Koreans had agreed to do the same.

“The United States and the DPRK [North Korea] will not overcome a legacy of 70 years of war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula through the course of a single Saturday,” Ortagus said. “These are weighty issues, and they require a strong commitment by both countries. The United States has that commitment.”

The discussions took place days after North Korea test-fired an underwater-launched missile, saying the test “ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat … and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defense.”  The missile flew 280 miles and reached a maximum altitude of 565 miles, higher than any other short-range weapons North Korea has test-fired in recent months.

NORTH KOREA CONFIRMS UNDERWATER-LAUNCHED MISSILE, CALLS IT ‘NEW PHASE’ FOR LIMITING OUTSIDE THREATS

North Korea resumed missile tests after the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam collapsed in February over how much sanctions relief Washington should provide Pyongyang in exchange for partial nuclear disarmament. Diplomatic relations between the two nations have largely been in stasis since, with the exception of a brief thaw in June when Kim and Trump met at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

The first summit between the two leaders, which took place last year in Singapore resulted in a vague denuclearization agreement but few concrete results.

Earlier Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped “that the North Koreans came with spirit and willingness to move forward to implement what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to back in Singapore.”

“We’re mindful that this will be the first time we have had a chance to have a discussion in quite some time and that there remains a lot of work that will have to done by the two teams,” Pompeo said in Athens, where he is on the final leg of a tour of Southern Europe.

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He added that Washington hoped the meeting in Sweden would lead to “a set of dialogues that could take place in the coming weeks and months that will really deliver on the commitments that were made in Singapore.”

However, ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton openly criticized the Trump administration’s North Korea policy Monday, saying Kim Jong Un “will never give up weapons voluntarily.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 07_AP19182011718251 State Department, North Korea disagree over whether latest nuclear talks broke down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/sweden fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox news fnc/politics fnc article a307d0e2-cd48-51c7-8827-d093f6e16617   Westlake Legal Group 07_AP19182011718251 State Department, North Korea disagree over whether latest nuclear talks broke down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/sweden fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox news fnc/politics fnc article a307d0e2-cd48-51c7-8827-d093f6e16617

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Giuliani says Pompeo was aware of his Ukraine outreach

Westlake Legal Group AP19272567835719 Giuliani says Pompeo was aware of his Ukraine outreach fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 91b98ed4-e842-5084-b0bd-4b883566006b

Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware of his efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, a claim furthering allegations of the State Department’s involvement in the campaign.

Appearing on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Giuliani said he had acted “at the request of the State Department.”

“I have all of the text messages to prove it,” Giuliani said. “And, I also have a ‘thank you’ from them from doing a good job.”

The State Department did not comment on Giuliani’s claims.

It came after the release last Thursday of a whistleblower complaint at the center of an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

The complaint, which detailed a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, alleged that Kurt Volker, a former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, reached out to Giuliani to “contain the damage” of his dealings with Ukraine.

Giuliani said Volker facilitated a meeting with Andriy Yermak, a top Zelensky aide, in July. After that meeting, Giuliani said he briefed Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, on his conversation with Yermak.

The State Department has confirmed that Volker helped secure a meeting between Giuliani and Yermak but denied that Giuliani was acting “on behalf” of the Trump administration.

Volker resigned as special envoy to Ukraine after the allegations came to light. Congressional Democrats have said they will compel Volker to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry.

BIDEN LAUNCHES NEW PUSH TO SILENCE TRUMP ATTORNEY AS HE ALLEGES POSSIBLE CORRUPTION

Giuliani told “Face The Nation” that Pompeo’s name was never brought up during those conversations, but claimed that the secretary was aware of his outreach to Ukraine.

“[W]hen I spoke to the secretary last week, I said, ‘Are you aware of this?’ and he said, ‘Yes, I know about this,” Giuliani said.

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Giuliani also surmised that State Department officials have been trying to downplay Volker’s effort in his outreach.

“The State Department is running away from me,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group AP19272567835719 Giuliani says Pompeo was aware of his Ukraine outreach fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 91b98ed4-e842-5084-b0bd-4b883566006b   Westlake Legal Group AP19272567835719 Giuliani says Pompeo was aware of his Ukraine outreach fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 91b98ed4-e842-5084-b0bd-4b883566006b

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Pompeo accuses Iran of ‘unprecedented attack’ after drones hit Saudi oil facilities

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the international community to join him Saturday in condemning Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, which he described as “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister Mohammad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” Pompeo tweeted, referring to the nation’s president and foreign affairs minister. ” … There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack hours before Pompeo’s tweet. The world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field were impacted, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

DRONE STRIKES TARGET WORLD’S LARGEST OIL FIELD PROCESSING FACILITY, SAUDI OIL FIELD; ATTACK CLAIMED BY IRANIAN-BACKED REBELS

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” Pompeo concluded.

According to multiple news reports that cited unidentified sources, the drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world’s largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days. It remained unclear if anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo’s description of the attack, calling it an “irresponsible simplification.”

“The Saudis and Houthis are at war. The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it’s just not as simple as Houthis=Iran,” he added.

Saturday’s attack comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage. The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

In a short address aired by the Houthi-controlled Al-Masirah satellite news channel, military spokesman Yahia Sarie said the rebels launched 10 drones after receiving “intelligence” support from those inside the kingdom. He warned that attacks by the rebels would only get worse if the war continues.

“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” Sarie said.

The rebels hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other parts f the Arab world’s poorest country. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has fought to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, called the strikes “extremely worrying” and urged “all parties to prevent such further incidents, which pose a serious threat to regional security, complicate the already fragile situation and jeopardize [the] UN-led political process.”

Trump called Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of the drone strikes and expressed the United States’ readiness to cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability, according to a news release from the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Trump said recent attacks against Saudi state-run oil facilities have had a negative impact on the U.S. and global economies.

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The White House readout of the same call said the president spoke to the crown prince to “offer his support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure,” the White House statement added. “Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust. The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6   Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4cebedb0-ad10-5ef3-a962-a8b1f94f33d6

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Mike Pompeo says key to ‘successful Iran’ is disarming rogue nation, appealing directly to its people

Westlake Legal Group Pompeo-IRG Mike Pompeo says key to 'successful Iran' is disarming rogue nation, appealing directly to its people Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/fox-news-sunday fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4ca4462d-3875-5402-a805-b649c20a5808

Following President Trump‘s cancellation of a secret meeting centered on peace talks with Afghan and Taliban leaders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turned his focus to Iran during a “Fox News Sunday” interview and shared his thoughts on how the country could become successful and prosperous.

“We want a successful Iran. We want them to be part of the community of nations,” he told host Chris Wallace. “You can’t do that when you’re building missiles that threaten Europe, threaten Israel, and building out systems that could ultimately create a nuclear weapon.”

Pompeo wouldn’t comment on the odds of Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly later this month but said America must speak directly to the Iranian people and help them understand that the U.S. will not allow the country to obtain a nuclear weapon.

PEACE TALKS WITH AFGHANS, TALIBAN CALLED OFF AFTER TRUMP CANCELS SECRET MEETING

“President Trump will think about whether it’s appropriate to meet based on whether he thinks we can get an improved outcome for the American people,” he said. “There are those [in Iran’s government] who think it’s wise to meet. There are those who just want to continue to kill people around the world.

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“We need to make sure that we’re doing all we can to make those that understand that the revolutionary nature of the Iranian regime is unacceptable, that they’ve got to change their behavior, and that America will never permit them to have a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo continued. “Those inside Iran that understand that, and I think that’s the majority of the Iranian people as well — those are the folks we want to make sure we talk to so that we ultimately get the right outcome.”

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Trump left the door open to a possible meeting while speaking with reporters at the White House this past Wednesday, saying America could help lift sanctions and lower Iranian inflation if Tehran was willing to come to the table.

“Their inflation is at a number that few people have ever seen inflation at, and it’s a very sad situation,” Trump said. “They could solve it very quickly. We could solve it in 24 hours, but we’ll see what happens.”

Fox News’ Chris Wallace contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Pompeo-IRG Mike Pompeo says key to 'successful Iran' is disarming rogue nation, appealing directly to its people Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/fox-news-sunday fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4ca4462d-3875-5402-a805-b649c20a5808   Westlake Legal Group Pompeo-IRG Mike Pompeo says key to 'successful Iran' is disarming rogue nation, appealing directly to its people Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/fox-news-sunday fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4ca4462d-3875-5402-a805-b649c20a5808

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Pompeo says ‘no indications’ that Iran is changing its ‘malign behavior’

Westlake Legal Group 1142c22e-ContentBroker_contentid-236e3f196baa4455b1b88d3fd96425b6 Pompeo says ‘no indications’ that Iran is changing its ‘malign behavior’ fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc e9e2030f-1e55-56ef-b0e2-648f71dc3ec9 article Adam Shaw

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that there are “no indications” that Iran is willing to change its “malign behavior” as the Iranian regime continues to act aggressively on the world stage.

“In the end, the Iranians, the regime, has to make a decision that it wants to behave like a normal nation,” Pompeo told reporters during a press conference with Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno. “And if they do that, we’re prepared to negotiate across a broad spectrum of issues with no preconditions and I hope that they will do that,”

NEW FOOTAGE BY IRAN PURPORTEDLY SHOWS COMMANDOS RAPPELLING ONTO UK-FLAGGED OIL TANKER

Pompeo added that the U.S. has tried to de-escalate the situation and create the space for negotiations, but added that “we have seen no indications that the Iranians are prepared to fundamentally change the direction of their nation, to do the things we’ve asked them to do with their nuclear program, their missile program, their malign behavior around the world.”

The secretary of state’s remarks came one day after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Senior Iranian officials said that the seizure of the Stena Impero as well as the brief detainment of a second UK-flagged vessel were a “reciprocal” measure for the July 4 seizure of an Iranian tanker by British Royal Marines off the island of Gibraltar.

That contradicted the message put out by the state-run news agency IRNA that claimed the British vessel was seized because it rammed an Iranian fishing boat.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, and “it’s clear from talking to him and also statements made by Iran that they see this as a tit-for-tat situation … Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Hunt said the Iranian tanker Grace1 violated European Union sanctions by carrying oil to Syria, making its detention in the waters of a British territory legal.

“The Stena Impero was seized in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law,” Hunt said. “It was then forced to sail into Iran. This is totally and utterly unacceptable …

“Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation,” the foreign secretary went on. ” … But, we need to see due process happening in Iran as well. We need to see the illegal seizing of a British-flagged vessel reversed, we need that ship released, and we continue to be very concerned about the safety and welfare of the 23 crew members.”

Maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz has deteriorated in recent weeks after six attacks on oil tankers that the U.S. has blamed on Iran – an allegation the Tehran government denies. The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and has imposed waves of economic sanctions on Tehran as part of an effort to curb Iranian aggression in the region.

IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD SEIZES ONE UK-OPERATED TANKER IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ, BRIEFLY DETAINS ANOTHER

On Friday, the U.S. said one of its warships downed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf. American officials said they used electronic jamming to bring down the unmanned aircraft, while Iran said it simply didn’t happen.

President Trump said Friday that Iran is “nothing but trouble” shortly after the news broke of the seized tankers, though he remained hopeful the standoff will work out “very nicely.”

He added that the regime “is showing their colors” by seizing the tankers and that it’s in “big trouble right now” due to the crushing sanctions imposed by the U.S.

Pompeo on Saturday said the administration holds out hope that Tehran will come to the negotiating table.

“These are not the actions of a country that looks like it’s headed in the right direction but we hope, as President Trump has said, that they will sit down and discuss each of these items with us,” he said.

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis, Greg Norman, Ben Florance and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 1142c22e-ContentBroker_contentid-236e3f196baa4455b1b88d3fd96425b6 Pompeo says ‘no indications’ that Iran is changing its ‘malign behavior’ fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc e9e2030f-1e55-56ef-b0e2-648f71dc3ec9 article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group 1142c22e-ContentBroker_contentid-236e3f196baa4455b1b88d3fd96425b6 Pompeo says ‘no indications’ that Iran is changing its ‘malign behavior’ fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc e9e2030f-1e55-56ef-b0e2-648f71dc3ec9 article Adam Shaw

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White House: ‘Little doubt’ Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration’s watch

President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday that Iran is “playing with fire,” hours after the country  effectively acknowledged that it was violating the terms of the 2015 multinational nuclear accord and threatened to pursue weapons-grade uranium as soon as July 7.

“No, no message to Iran,” Trump said. “They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with. And I think the’re playing with fire. So no message to Iran whatsoever.”

Earlier in the day, the semi-official Fars news agency in Iran cited an unnamed source as saying that U.N. inspectors had recently weighed Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium. According to the report, Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium was greater than the 660-pound limit set by the nuclear deal. The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the deal more than a year ago.

In a terse written statement Monday, the White House said the development should have been foreseeable to the Obama administration “even before the deal’s existence.”

The White House also vowed to continue to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran to ensure that the country never obtains nuclear weapons, even as it worked to undo what it called the “mistake” of the previous administration.

While uranium enriched to 3.67 percent is usable for nuclear power plants, enrichment closer to 90 percent is needed for atomic weaponry. Separately, Iran has threatened to rapidly raise its uranium enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels starting on July 7 if Europe fails to offer it a new deal that provides economic relief.

IRAN SAYS LATEST TRUMP SANCTIONS END THE CHANNEL OF DIPLOMACY ‘FOREVER’

“The Iranian regime took action today to increase its uranium enrichment,’ the White House said in the statement. “It was a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level. There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-72cfcb48e33546699d3770e18e833ef9 White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this past May that the country would exceed the nuclear deal’s limitations on stockpiling uranium. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP, File)

Tensions in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone last month, have escalated sharply in recent weeks, as crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have sent Iran’s economy into a tailspin. Some of the sanctions had been suspended under the nuclear deal.

Iran’s oil exports have more than halved since sanctions were reinstated and imposed last year, and the rial has lost approximately 60 percent of its value against the dollar. Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said inflation in Iran hit 31 percent in 2018, and could continue to rise. The IMF said Iran’s economy contracted by 3.9 percent in 2018, and in April forecast a massive economic contraction of as much as 6 percent this year.

After the drone shootdown, the Trump administration hit Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other officials with new sanctions. That prompted Iran’s Foreign Ministry to say diplomacy was permanently off the table. Iranian President Rouhani, speaking on television, also mocked the White House and said it is “afflicted by mental retardation.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country’s decision to exceed stockpile limits on Monday was “reversible,” but he pleaded again for European countries to work to reduce the sanctions.

“Today, Iran has to stand against U.S. economic sanctions through domestic production and relying on national potentials,” Zarif said on state-run media.

“They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with. And I think the’re playing with fire.”

— President Trump

The White House statement, however, suggested no compromise.

“We must restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran,” the White House said. “The United States and its allies will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action. The regime must end its nuclear ambitions and its malign behavior.”

This past May, nuclear officials said Iran had quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran‘s atomic program, just hours after Trump and Iran’s foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter.

Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67 percent limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. But by increasing production, Iran steamrolled towards exceeding the stockpile limitations set by the accord.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Monday that Iran’s latest announcement continued a larger trend.

“Iran’s regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions,” Pompeo said. “Once again, the regime uses its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security. The world’s top sponsor of terrorism can never be allowed to enrich uranium at any level.”

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In May, Pompeo revealed that Iran-backed missiles positioned rockets near American military bases in Iraq, prompting the State Department to order non-emergency personnel at the U.S. embassy and consulate there to leave the country.

Understanding how quickly low-enriched uranium could be weaponized is key to recognizing the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, experts have said. Enriching a supply of uranium means boosting its concentration of the type of uranium that can power a nuclear reaction.

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Anna Hopkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6054346775001_6054339757001-vs White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6054346775001_6054339757001-vs White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128

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US, India ‘working together’ amid Iran crisis, despite trade tensions

Despite growing disagreements over trade and tariffs, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss international cooperation amid the Iran crisis.

On Wednesday, Pompeo recognized the two countries’ differences while meeting with both Modi and foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi but made sure to emphasize that the countries must work together toward a common goal.

Westlake Legal Group Pompeo-Jaishankar US, India 'working together' amid Iran crisis, despite trade tensions fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/india fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state Fox News Staff fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1ba7e60a-8b0b-5b0b-b1fa-5995b208f454

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, listening to Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

The United States and India have shared a political and strategic common ground on Iran. Both countries have hit the rogue nation with economic penalties this year.

“I think that’s a concern to which Secretary Pompeo was certainly very, very receptive,” said Jaishankar. “I think he understands that this is today the world’s fifth-largest economy, which imports 85 percent of its energy, a large part of it from the Gulf.”

Pompeo praised India’s efforts in cutting oil from Iran, stating that Tehran “is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”

He continued, “There’s a shared understanding of the threat and a common purpose to ensure that we can keep that energy at the right prices and this … terror regime poses to the entire world.”

Pompeo said the collaboration will strengthen bilateral ties.

“Great friends are bound to have disagreements,” Pompeo said after meeting with Jaishankar.

Jaishankar agreed, commenting the United States and India “need to filter through the noise and get down to the basics of the relationship.”

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President Trump is set to meet with Modi at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, later this week. Hundreds of supporters of left-wing groups demonstrated in central New Delhi to protest Pompeo’s arrival in India and denounce American policies in the Middle East. 

Fox News’ Morgan Cheung and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Schumer urges Pompeo to warn Putin against any more election interference

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., penned a letter on Sunday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of the Cabinet member’s planned trip to Russia in which he urged Pompeo to warn Russian President Vladimir Putin that any attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election “will be met with an immediate and robust response.”

Pompeo’s meeting with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be the highest-level face-to-face talks between the former Cold War foes since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Schumer and other Democrats are concerned about Trump’s handling of Russian interference and said that it must change.

“During your meeting with Vladimir Putin, it is critical that you warn him that any action to interfere in our elections will be met with an immediate and robust response,” Schumer said in his letter to Pompeo. “President Trump’s approach to dealing with President Putin, especially on this vital issue, must change. I urge you to make absolutely clear to President Putin that interference in U.S. elections will not be tolerated.”

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The trip will be Pompeo’s first to Russia as secretary of state and, as he prepared for his weekend departure, administration critics, including congressional Democrats, noted that a statement highly critical of alleged Russian involvement in an attempted coup in Montenegro had been removed from the State Department’s website.

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 NATO was “a clear victory for the rule of law, laying bare Russia’s brazen attempt to undermine the sovereignty of an independent European nation.”

After Pompeo’s office objected to the release, the statement was taken down from the website, according to officials, who stressed that it had not been formally recalled and still reflected U.S. government policy. Its removal, first reported by Foreign Policy, however, appeared to amuse Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who tweeted a screenshot of the statement, saying “Good news, @StateDept: we saved a copy.”

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The State Department said Pompeo and Putin and Lavrov would discuss “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges” facing the two countries. A senior department official said in addition to Venezuela and Iran, the talks would include arms control, stalled U.S. nuclear negotiations with North Korea, Syria, Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and Washington’s concerns about Russian election interference efforts.

Despite the focus of the talks centering on bilateral issues facing both nations, Democrats in Washington want Pompeo to focus on the Russian meddling detailed in the Mueller report.

“In recent weeks, the American people have heard yet again that Vladimir Putin directed a “sweeping and systematic” attack on our democracy,” Schumer wrote. “Special Counsel Mueller’s report documented an insidious disinformation campaign against the wellspring of our democracy — our elections.”

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He added: “Even more recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the American people that the Russian efforts in the 2018 elections were just a dress rehearsal for 2020 and that we should be prepared for another active measures campaign to attack our election systems. Director Wray’s remarks should send a chill down all of our spines.”

While Trump has downplayed significance of Russian interference and rejected allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia to win in 2016, Pompeo recently said he had told Lavrov during a meeting in Finland that “it’s not appropriate and that we’re going to do everything we can to deter it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035320740001_6035313774001-vs Schumer urges Pompeo to warn Putin against any more election interference fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc ca638a41-d05d-5888-afc9-291f8b1a96bc article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035320740001_6035313774001-vs Schumer urges Pompeo to warn Putin against any more election interference fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc ca638a41-d05d-5888-afc9-291f8b1a96bc article Andrew O'Reilly

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Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Iraq as US steps up warnings to Iran

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Baghdad Tuesday to show support for the Iraqi government as the Trump administration intensified its pressure campaign against Iran.

The lightning-quick trip began and ended after nightfall and under heavy security following the abrupt cancellation of a scheduled visit to Germany by Pompeo. Journalists accompanying Pompeo were not told of his new destination until his plane left for Baghdad and were not allowed to report on his whereabouts until after his plane had taken off for London.

During the flight to Baghdad, Pompeo told reporters he would meet with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

“You’ve all seen the reports that there have been escalating — information that indicates Iran is escalating their activity,” Pompeo said. “I wanted to go to Baghdad to speak with the leadership there, to assure them that we stood ready to continue to ensure that Iraq is a sovereign, independent nation.”

Pompeo also said he wanted to underscore Iraq’s need to protect Americans in their country.

“We wanted to let them know about the increased threat stream that we had seen and give them a little bit more background on that so they could ensure that they were doing all they could to provide protection for our team,” he said. “They understood, too, it’s important for their country.”

The secretary of state added that he would also discuss unfinished business deals that he said would allow Iraq to wean itself from dependence on Iranian energy.

“These aren’t even all American business deals. These are — this is about trying to assist Iraq in obtaining their energy independence. Some of these are potential power line opportunities out of Jordan and out of Egypt, so electricity then can be provided. So this isn’t about American commerce. This is about ensuring that there’s Iraqi energy independence,” he said.

Late Sunday, the U.S. announced that it is rushing an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East to deter or respond to any Iranian attack. U.S. officials have said there are indications Iran is planning to retaliate for the Trump administration’s stepped-up sanctions on the country, although the threat information remains vague.

As tensions rise between Washington and Tehran, Baghdad in some ways is caught in the middle. Iraq has a close relationship with the U.S., which is leading the international coalition in the war against ISIS group in Iraq and Syria. More than 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed on Iraqi soil.

But Iraq is also tightly enmeshed with Iran in trade, security and political matters, and it has been loath to antagonize its larger neighbor. Iran won the ear of many top Iraqi politicians after it stepped in to fill the political vacuum following the 2003 U.S. invasion. It also can count on the loyalty of several powerful Iraqi militias, which have fought previously against U.S. forces in the country and on the side of Iran’s allies in Syria in that country’s civil war.

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The Trump administration has made several recent moves to squeeze Iran. Last month, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil. The U.S. also designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government.

Trump withdrew from the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, re-imposed punishing sanctions, including those targeting Iran’s oil, shipping and banking sectors.

Fox News’ Rich Edson and Nick Kalman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-bb7bcfb7841544d6a710f6ae0653e697 Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Iraq as US steps up warnings to Iran Frank Miles fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c4b2528-1416-5f4a-b08a-3db26b991172   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-bb7bcfb7841544d6a710f6ae0653e697 Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Iraq as US steps up warnings to Iran Frank Miles fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c4b2528-1416-5f4a-b08a-3db26b991172

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Pompeo meeting with Merkel cancelled over ‘pressing issues’

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The U.S. State Department says a planned meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chancellor Angela Merkel has been canceled.

Pompeo was due to meet Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on Tuesday.

POMPEO WARNS RUSSIA AGAINST ‘MESSING AROUND WITH VENEZUELA’

The State Department said the meetings have had to be rescheduled due to “pressing issues” but offered no further comment on why.

Neither Merkel’s nor Mass’s office had any immediate comment.

Pompeo has been taking part in a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland. It wasn’t immediately clear where he would be heading next.

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The State Department says Pompeo “looks forward to being in Berlin soon” to hold the “important set of meetings” that had been scheduled.

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