US vs Iran: America issues order to embassy in Nigeria, others

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, December 11, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has sent a message to American missions around the world, ordering diplomats not to meet with Iranian opposition groups without specific approval.

“Many exiled Iranian opposition groups try to engage U.S officials regularly to gain at least the appearance of tacit support and enhance their visibility and clout,” Pompeo said in the cable obtained by CNN.

He noted that many of the groups “have previously or are currently using violent means in support of their political aims.”

“Direct U.S government engagement with these groups could prove counterproductive to our policy goal of seeking a comprehensive deal with the Iranian regime that addresses its destabilizing behavior.”

Pompeo added that America wanted a “comprehensive deal” with Iran that covers “its destabilizing behavior, including its nuclear program, missile program, support for terrorism, and malign regional behavior.”

The order became public 24 hours after the US denied Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a visa.

The visa was meant to allow Zarif attend a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday.

Zarif said he had requested the visa about a month ago but the US told him it “didn’t have enough time to issue a visa.”

In his reaction, Pompeo, at the State Department on Tuesday, said that “we don’t comment on visa matters for those traveling to the United States”.