Europe warns US against Iran escalation as tensions mount

14 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

BRUSSELS: Europe on Monday urged the US not to further escalate tensions over the Iran nuclear deal, with Britain issuing a stark warning of the risk of conflict erupting “by accident” in the Gulf, reports AFP.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a last-minute visit to Brussels where he met his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany—the three European signatories to the 2015 accord that curbed Iran’s nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief—on the sidelines of a regular EU foreign ministers’ gathering.

Iran last week announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the agreement, a year after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and imposed swingeing sanctions on the Islamic republic—putting the deal in peril.

Adding a military dimension to the diplomatic tensions, Washington is sending an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Gulf, having already deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers.

Pompeo’s visit to Brussels was announced at the last minute and if he came hoping for a show of transatlantic unity against Iran, he was disappointed, with Britain, France and Germany all publicly criticising the hardline US approach.