He made a surprise visit to Iraq immediately before his trip to London, assuring Baghdad that the U.S. opposes other states "interfering in their country" and stands ready "to ensure that Iraq is a sovereign, independent nation". "They both provided assurances that they understood that was their responsibility". Details released by the U.S., however, did not make it clear whether he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi during his short visit here.
The visit came two days after USA national security adviser John Bolton said the United States was deploying the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force to the region because of a "credible threat by Iranian regime forces".
The "campaign to continue to prevent ISIS terror inside of Iraq itself is something that's very central.to the Iraqi government", Pompeo said.
Late Sunday the administration announced that it is deploying a US aircraft carrier and Air Force bombers to the Persian Gulf region. The top USA diplomat's unannounced visit marked an effort to stand up Washington's ties with Baghdad as it pushes ahead with its "maximum pressure" against Tehran a U.S. arch-rival, but an ally of Iraq.
Iraq's majority Shiite population enjoys religious kinship with Iran, which played a significant role in helping Baghdad to fight the Islamic State extremist movement.
In Iraq, a debate has been raging in recent months over the fate of some 5,200 U.S. troops stationed across the country. Iran won the ear of many top Iraqi politicians after it stepped in to fill the political vacuum following the 2003 US invasion.More news: Denver ‘magic mushroom’ initiative is losing
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"We talked to them about the importance of Iraq ensuring that it's able to adequately protect Americans in their country", Pompeo told reporters after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. It also can count on the loyalty of several powerful Iraqi militias, which have fought previously against US forces in the country and on the side of Iran's allies in Syria in that country's civil war.
The Trump administration has made several recent moves to squeeze Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration re-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November after Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran, Washington and five other countries.
At the same time the U.S. also blacklisted Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, designating it as a foreign terrorist group.
President Hassan Rouhani Wednesday announced Tehran's withdrawal from complying with the restrictions posed by the Iran nuclear deal on the country's enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies.