Mike Pompeo offers to travel to Iran to hold direct talks after ‘missile launch’

By Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor | Sky News |

Mr Pompeo says he would happily hold direct talks with Tehran ‘if that’s the call’

The US secretary of state has said he is willing to travel to Iran for talks as reports emerged on Friday that the Iranian regime had test-fired a medium range missile.

Mike Pompeo also called on Britain, Japan and other nations to join a US-led maritime force to protect international tankers and other ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

The Royal Navy this week started its own escort mission to guard British-flagged vessels against the threat of an Iranian attack as they transit through the waterway.

Jeremy Hunt, in one of his last acts as foreign secretary, said Britain wanted to build a European-led maritime force but there is no sign of that emerging anytime soon.

Mr. Pompeo was asked in an interview on Thursday if he would be willing to go to Tehran.

“Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people,” the top US diplomat told Bloomberg TV.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since last year, when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal, saying it was not strong enough. Washington also re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

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