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Pompeo: US Not Pushing for Regime Change in Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 24, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration is not pushing for a regime change in Iran, but to achieve global consensus on how to get Tehran to "behave like a normal nation."

Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday the administration is "well along" with plans to impose previous and new sanctions against Iran with a goal "to deny Iran the wealth to do bad stuff."

Wednesday, the top U.S. diplomat told the House Foreign Affairs Committee the United States is looking to meet with allies, including European officials, in early to mid-June on the next steps in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons development.

Planning for the meeting began after President Donald Trump earlier this month withdrew the United States from the 2015 international accord that restrained Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions that had hobbled the Iranian economy.

The United States says it plans in the coming months to reimpose previous sanctions and impose new ones against Iran in hopes of pushing Tehran to the bargaining table for new negotiations over its ballistic missile tests and military advances in the Middle East. But the five other signatories to the international pact: Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia all have said they support the existing nuclear deal with Iran.

The signatories are trying to salvage the agreement, which Iran has threatened to abandon if it suffers from the reintroduction of U.S. economic sanctions.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report issued Thursday Iran is continuing to comply with the 2015 accord. The International Atomic Energy Agency urged Iran to go beyond its legal obligations to abide by the deal to increase global confidence in its commitment to the pact.