USA does 'not seek a war with Iran': Pompeo

EU has cool welcome for Pompeo but Austrian minister dismisses danger of war

"Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added. "It's about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interests you can make progress unlocking some of the most hard problems that are facing us".

"As you know, not long ago, a few days ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the president of the United States by telephone", he said.

"My impression is that the president is set to restore Russian-American relations, contacts, to jointly resolve issues that are of mutual interest to us", Putin told Pompeo in front of reporters before a private meeting on Tuesday.

Pompeo underlined to Putin that Trump wanted to make "our two peoples more successful and, frankly, the world more successful, too".

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"Some of our cooperation has been excellent, on North Korea, on Afghanistan, " Pompeo told Putin.

"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran", Pompeo said during a visit to Russian Federation, a key backer of Tehran which has blamed the current crisis on Washington's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Russian Federation is one of the remaining signatories, and Lavrov is likely to stress to Pompeo the deal's importance for worldwide security.

Pompeo cancelled a stop in Moscow Monday to instead have an unscheduled meeting in Brussels with European foreign ministers, who have been uncomfortable with the hawkish direction of the USA on Iran. "We want every country that's interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that".

"We see that there are suspicions and prejudices", Lavrov told Pompeo at the start of their talks.

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Iran was one of the key items on the agenda because of tensions in the region rising. The U.S. has accused Iran of threatening to attack American interests in the Middle East and suggested that Iran or Iranian proxies are behind incidents of alleged sabotage on Emirati, Norwegian and Saudi tankers in the Persian Gulf.

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. A Kremlin spokesperson rejected the notion that Putin's schedule was an intentional "message" for the US administration.

"We fundamentally don't seek war with Iran", Pompeo said during the visit, according to the Associated Press. "But we've also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion".

"As soon as Iran takes its first reciprocal steps and says that it is leaving, everyone will forget by tomorrow that the U.S. was the initiator of this collapse, Iran will be held responsible, and the global public opinion will be intentionally changed in this direction", Putin said.

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It's a unusual comment, to say the least, considering that Mueller did establish that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election to benefit Trump. But Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov said they did not touch on Ukraine, where Russia's backing of separatist rebels have prompted U.S. sanctions.

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