14:56 GMT20 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of a global task force to enhance supervision of Iran-based financial entities, citing alleged money laundering conducted by Tehran.

    Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday that the US would continue mounting a pressure campaign against Iran until the Islamic republic chooses diplomacy over violence.

    "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us. Until then, our diplomatic isolation and economic pressure campaign against the regime will intensify", the statement read.

    Tensions between the United States and Iran have been simmering since Washington pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed tough economic sanctions on Tehran. Most recently, the Trump administration accused the Islamic republic of attacking foreign oil tankers in the region. Following the incidents involving cargo vessels, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) downed a US spy drone after it crossed into Iran airspace. Washington claimed the vehicle was operating in the international airspace.

    US President Donald Trump said Iran had made a "big mistake" but later told reporters that Iran's downing of the drone was likely unintentional.

    Pompeo slammed on Saturday a hand-drawn sketch tweeted by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif showing the coordinates and flight path of the US spy drone as "not credible", while ignoring a newly-released map with the detailed flight route of the downed surveillance drone.

    "The United States has shown beyond any doubt that Iran shot down a US unmanned aircraft in international airspace. Foreign Minister Zarif’s hand-drawn map disputing this fact is not credible", Pompeo's statement read.

    Earlier, the Iranian foreign minister promised that Tehran would prove that the United States is lying in its claim that the drone was downed while in international airspace.

    Meanwhile, Trump said that he hoped to avoid a war with Iran. Similarly, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said that Iran does not intend to wage war with the United States, but will continue to resist pressure.

    On Friday, Trump revealed that the US forces were ready to strike targets in Iran in response to the downing of the US Navy drone, but stressed that he called off the attacks at the last minute because they were not proportionate.

    Iranian general staff told reporters earlier that Tehran will retaliate if Washington conducts a military action against Iran.

    The escalation in the region prompted over a dozen international air carriers to restrict or alter commercial jet flight routes in the areas surrounding Iran.

    On Saturday, Trump vowed to impose new major sanctions against Iran next week.


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