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No assurances from Pompeo on Iran: Russia

USS Arlington transits the Atlantic Ocean Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Kremlin, Moscow, Russia May 15, 2019, 03.56 PM (IST)

The Kremlin Wednesday expressed concern that tensions over Iran keep escalating despite assurances from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Russia that Washington was not seeking war.

"So far we notice the continued escalation of tensions around this subject," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, a day after Pompeo met with President Vladimir Putin.

"We are saddened to see the decisions taken by the Iranian side," Peskov said while arguing that Washington has been provoking Iran. 

Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Tuesday, Pompeo had assured Russia that his country did not want war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

But Peskov sought to play down those statements.

"There were no assurances from Pompeo," Putin's spokesman told reporters. 

"And one can hardly talk about some sort of assurances. There is an obvious situation which unfortunately tends to escalate further."

Washington has ramped up pressure on Tehran in recent days, accusing Iran of planning "imminent" attacks in the region, and bolstering the American military presence in the Gulf.

A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warned of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq, including "anti-US sectarian militias" who could "threaten US citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq."

The US last year shut its consulate in the protest-hit southern Iraqi city of Basra, blaming "indirect fire" by Iran-backed forces.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency(IEA) said on Wednesday that global tensions over US sanctions on Iran had produced less crude in line with their pact.

The Paris-based IEA said that while geopolitics and industry disruptions were clouding the outlook it believes that the market balance is set to flip from surplus into deficit, a development that would favour efforts by oil producing nations to keep prices high.

With fresh economic data and forecasts now available, the IEA trimmed its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year to an increase of 1.3 mbd, primarily due to a slow start of the year.

However, it said: "slower demand growth is likely to be short-lived, as we believe that the pace will pick up during the rest of the year."

Story highlights

The US last year had shut its consulate in the protest-hit southern Iraqi city of Basra, blaming "indirect fire" by Iran-backed forces.