U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Iran was “desperately” suggesting it is eager to resume negotiations to get sanctions relief.
Pompeo, who did not elaborate on how the United States would respond to Iran’s return to the bargaining table, made the virtual remarks at the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Dialogue in Bahrain, which focuses on regional security challenges.
The U.S. has imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran to pressure it to negotiate stricter curbs on its nuclear program.
The sanctions were imposed after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, causing relations to deteriorate between the two sides.
“We know our campaign is working because now the Iranians are desperately signaling their willingness to return to the negotiating table to get sanctions relief,” Pompeo said.
“This effort in the Middle East isn’t just about countering Iran, as vital as that is,” the secretary of state added. “American strength and resolve have given the leaders in the region the space and importantly, the confidence, to pursue peace and prosperity.”
Iran did not immediately respond to Pompeo’s remarks.
The Iranian Guardian Council, a constitutional monitor, approved legislation earlier this week that would stop allowing United Nations inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities if oil and banking sanctions are not eased.
The measure gives European countries, Russia and China two months to ease sanctions on its energy sector and restore its access to the global banking system.
The Guardian Council passed the measure a week after the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.