Mike Pompeo warns Iran against anti-US action in Iraq

CIA Director Mike Pompeo in letter to Iran's army chief says US will hold Tehran responsible if its troops are targeted.

    Recent speculation suggested CIA chief Mike Pompeo is being lined up to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]
    Recent speculation suggested CIA chief Mike Pompeo is being lined up to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo has warned Iran against attacking US "interests" in Iraq, saying the Iranian government will be held responsible for any targeting of US troops.

    Pompeo, speaking at the 2017 Reagan National Defense Forum in California on Saturday, said he had sent a cautionary letter to the leader of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qassem Soleimani.

    "I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten US interests in Iraq," Pompeo said. "What we were communicating to him was that we will hold him and Iran accountable."

    The letter was not opened by Soleimani, according to the chief of staff for Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    "Recently, when ... the CIA chief through one of his contacts in the region sent a letter to General Soleimani, he responded by saying, 'I did not either receive or read the letter. I have nothing to tell these people'," Mohammad Mohammadi Golpaygani said.

    Since the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government in 2003 during the US-led invasion, Iran has extended its influence throughout the country.

    The Iranian government in Tehran is consolidating its control over political affairs in Iraq, while fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

    A US-led coalition is also combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria, frequently in close proximity to Iranian forces operating in those countries.

    Pompeo, an outspoken critic of the nuclear agreement with Iran, said Tehran's actions in Iraq showed that "Iranian efforts to be the hegemonic power throughout the Middle East continue to increase".

    Recent speculation has suggested that Pompeo is being lined up by US President Donald Trump to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Pompeo did not answer questions regarding these reports.

    Is the Iran deal set to unravel?

    UpFront

    Is the Iran deal set to unravel?

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.