The Corner

World

After Pence Criticizes European Approach to Iran, Pompeo Meets with Top EU Diplomat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Belgium, February 15, 2019. (Olivier Hoslet/Reuters)

Brussels — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, one day after the vice president rebuked Germany, France, and the United Kingdom on a world stage over their approach to Iran. Mogherini is a champion of the Iran deal from which the Trump administration has withdrawn.

Pence’s remarks came yesterday, before representatives from 62 nations, at a foreign-policy conference held in a Warsaw soccer stadium. Initially billed as a general forum to discuss the Middle East, the conference made headlines for its unsubtle emphasis on Iran. There, Pence charged American allies with having “led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions” through the so-called “special-purpose vehicle,” a financial instrument created by Germany, France, and the U.K. that could allow them to bypass U.S. bans on trade with Iran.

“It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” he said. Pence also called on the EU to withdraw from the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

At the conference, Pompeo kept up the emphasis. “There was not a defender of Iran in the room,” he said. He also echoed Pence’s entreaty to Europe: “It’s in our collective best interest to deny Iranian leaders the money they need to fuel the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”

Today, he met with Mogherini, a reliable defender of the JCPOA, for more than an hour. The EU diplomat declined to answer a reporter who asked whether she had had any reaction to Pence’s speech. A State Department official called the hour-long meeting “friendly” and “constructive.” Despite the difference in policy on the JCPOA, Pompeo suggested yesterday that the U.S. and the EU still agree on other Iran-related issues.

Who came to the Warsaw conference was as notable as who didn’t. The U.S. first cast it as an Iran-centric affair before broadening its focus to include the Yemeni war and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Despite the rebranding, Germany, France, and the EU all sent low-level officials anyway (the U.K. sent its foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt). Meanwhile, several Arab states brought high-level officials to the conference and participated in meetings alongside Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continuing an ongoing thaw in relations between Israel and its onetime enemies who are increasingly unnerved by Iranian aggression.

The stop in Brussels was the fourth in a five-leg trip for Pompeo that concludes today in Reykjavik.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

How Many Jeffrey Epsteins Are There?

Goodman Brown was a young, pious man, from a family of “honest men and good Christians since the days of the martyrs,” when he first discovered that the society around him was full of evil hiding in plain sight. Brown, the main character of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1835 short story “Young Goodman Brown,” ... Read More

How Many Jeffrey Epsteins Are There?

Goodman Brown was a young, pious man, from a family of “honest men and good Christians since the days of the martyrs,” when he first discovered that the society around him was full of evil hiding in plain sight. Brown, the main character of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1835 short story “Young Goodman Brown,” ... Read More
Music

The All-American Glory of Yacht Rock

They say jazz is America’s musical signature: As Ken Burns wrote, “the genius of America is improvisation, our unique experiment a profound intersection of freedom and creativity. . . . Nowhere is this more apparent than in jazz — the only art form created by Americans, an enduring and indelible expression ... Read More
Music

The All-American Glory of Yacht Rock

They say jazz is America’s musical signature: As Ken Burns wrote, “the genius of America is improvisation, our unique experiment a profound intersection of freedom and creativity. . . . Nowhere is this more apparent than in jazz — the only art form created by Americans, an enduring and indelible expression ... Read More