State Dept's Pompeo says he would go to Iran 'if that's the call' - Bloomberg

 State Depts Pompeo says he would go to Iran if thats the call - Bloomberg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview on Thursday that he would go to Iran for talks if it was necessary, amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Asked if he would be willing to go to Tehran, Pompeo said in an interview with Bloomberg TV: "Sure. If that's the call, I'd happily go there ... I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people."

Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since last year, when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying it was not strong enough. Washington also reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

The relationship between the two countries has been strained further over the past three months following attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran.

Iran tested what appeared to be a medium-range ballistic missile on Wednesday that travelled about 1,000 km (620 miles), said a U.S. defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The test did not pose a threat to shipping or any U.S. personnel in the region, the official said.

Trump and Iranian leaders have both publicly said talks were possible, although each side had different conditions for negotiations to take place.

But on Wednesday, the top military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would not negotiate with Washington under any circumstances, in what appeared to be a hardening of Iran's position amid the crisis.

(Reporting by Makini Brice, David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali; editing by Leslie Adler)

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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2019 06:07:12 IST