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Iran, U.S. dismiss possibility of war

Iran, U.S. dismiss possibility of war”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint press conference following their talks in Sochi on May 14, 2019.

"But it's not destined that we're adversaries on all issues and I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests and continue to build out strong relationships, at least on those particular issues", Pompeo said.

"We touched in general on the possibility of contacts between the presidents of Russian Federation and the United States, particularly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan". He also was critical of US sanctions punishing countries doing business with Iran.

Responding to Lavrov's opening remarks, Pompeo said: "I'm here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship".

Butina, who remains incarcerated in the United States, faced "arbitrary" charges, Putin has said.

At least one, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he feared that unintentional escalation from the U.S. and Iran could spark a conflict - an unusually bold statement that appeared to assign equal culpability to Washington and Tehran.

Pompeo's comments on the meeting didn't seem to indicate that he'd pressed the Russian president on election interference any harder than Trump had.

Just hours before his arrival in Russia, Pompeo tweeted that talks would cover a range of important issues, also stressing the need to find a "way forward" despite the differences between Moscow and Washington.

Pompeo did not specifically mention election meddling in his brief reply to Putin, although he did say the Trump administration would "protect our nation's interest". He cited cooperation in Afghanistan and counterterrorism more broadly, but also a shared goal of getting North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.

Lavrov told reporters the two countries continued to disagree about Iran's nuclear program and the worldwide community's approach to Tehran, while Pompeo said he had raised US concerns about escalating fighting in Syria's Idlib. "We share the same threat assessment", he said. "I hope that Russian Federation takes advantage of those opportunities".

Pompeo and Lavrov have in the past weeks called on the other's country to get out of crisis-wracked Venezuela.

Venezuela was a key point of discussion and difference, with the USA firm in its commitment to support opposition figure Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate leader and Russian Federation equally firm in its backing of embattled President Nicolas Maduro. But Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov said they did not touch on Ukraine, where Russia's backing of separatist rebels have prompted USA sanctions.

The US has recently ramped up the pressure, deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers to counter vaguely described threats from Iran.



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