Pompeo Meets With Saudi Leaders For Iran Crisis Talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani EPA  ALEXEI DRUZHININ  SPUTNIK  KREMLIN POOL  POOL

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani EPA ALEXEI DRUZHININ SPUTNIK KREMLIN POOL POOL

Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting Iran's Supreme Leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the latest action the USA has taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups.

"We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country", the United States president added.

"The newly announced Iran sanctions are symbolic", said Jarrett Blanc, a former senior state department official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack", Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran's minister for information and communications technology, said on social network Twitter.

American media have reported that the US launched cyber attacks last week even as Trump called off the air strike. The Security Council issued a statement condemning the latest attacks on oil tankers and urging all parties "to exercise maximum restraint and take measures and actions to reduce escalation and tension".

Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman and had lunch with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before proceeding to the United Arab Emirates for talks with Abu Dhabi's crown prince.

Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a USA drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.

"You can not start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, who is intimidating you", said Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi, who said the "atmosphere of such a dialogue is not ready yet". "As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go", he said.

The Kremlin, which has longstanding links to Iran's government, earlier called Monday's sanctions "illegal".

In a pair of tweets Monday, Trump said USA aims regarding Tehran boil down to "No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror".

"I'm not looking for war", Mr Trump said on NBC's Meet The Press programme. However, an Iranian commander said Tehran was prepared to do it again. "I want to be very clear". Trump, however, pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, seeking its collapse, because he believes it let Iran off the hook.

On Monday, Oman denied reports that it had conveyed a message from the United States to the Iranian government over the downing of the drone.

In a pair of tweets on Monday, Trump told other countries to protect their own Gulf oil shipments and declared the U.S. has only limited strategic interest in the "dangerous" region.

"But we've been keeping Congress abreast of what we're doing.and I think it's something they appreciate".

The United States maintains that the aircraft was flying over global waters.

Paul warned with the status quo, there could be hostilities given the position Iran is in. Trump could also hit Iran's central bank with secondary sanctions, but that would come at the risk of hurting humanitarian trade.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani claimed that the United States' "interventionist military presence" in the Middle East was responsible for the region's problems.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased in recent weeks after the downing of an American drone and claims by Washington that Tehran was behind attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.