Mike Pompeo

Pompeo launches action group to counter Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces the creation of the 'Iran Action Group.' Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced the establishment of an Iran Action Group, which he said would focus on working with other agencies and U.S. allies to force the Iranian regime to change its behavior.

The backdrop: Since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal in May, the focus of the administration has been on piling economic and political pressure on the regime. A new nuclear deal on President Trump's terms is unlikely, particularly as the Iranians have rejected Trump's offer to meet and other key international players strongly disagree with Trump's approach. That leaves threats and sanctions as the primary tools at Pompeo's disposal.

Pompeo warns Russia against violating North Korea sanctions

Mike Pompeo.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned countries — specifically Russia — of violating international sanctions against North Korea, saying offenses would be taken "very seriously" by the U.S.

The big picture: North Korea hasn't yet denuclearized, which was the primary goal of Kim Jong-un and President Trump's June summit. Speaking at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Pompeo said he is "optimistic" that North Korea will ultimately denuclearize, but other countries, like Russia and China, violating sanctions against them, could lift the pressure pushing North Korea to rid its nuclear arsenal.