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Secy of State Mike Pompeo: "Iran is the major destabilizing influence ... and we aim to fix that"

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"Iran is the major destabilizing influence in the Middle East, and we aim to fix that," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Saturday. "What we've seen from the Iranians is increased threats... it's real... and it appears to be current."

Earlier on Saturday, Iran's state Press TV headlined President Hassan Rouhani's claims that the country is "facing all-out-war," with its leadership rallying the population as tensions escalate. "Rouhani," reported Press TV, "said the current wave of pressure on Iran is even more difficult than the one experienced during the Iran-Iraq war period," and the country "needs unity and cohesiveness at the time of increased political and economic pressure, which he described as unprecedented in the history of the country since the Islamic revolution of 1979."

A day earlier, on Friday, Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai Nejad was reported by Iran's ISNA news agency as taunting the dispatch of the U.S. carrier group. "Their billion-dollar fleet can be destroyed with one missile," he said during Friday prayers. "If they attempt any move, they will [see] dozens of missiles because at that time officials won’t be in charge to act cautiously, but instead things will be in the hands of our beloved leader."

The same day, the IRGC’s deputy head for political affairs Yadollah Javani was equally provocative, quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying that "no talks will be held with the Americans and the Americans will not dare take military action against us," in response to President Trump's public call for talks and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assurance of a swift and decisive response to any attack by Iran.