Mike Pompeo walking with other men on a tarmac at night (© Mandel Ngan/AP Images)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, with U.S. officials upon arrival in Baghdad, on May 7 (© Mandel Ngan/AP Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad on May 7 to meet with Iraqi leaders.

Speaking with reporters before and after his meetings, Pompeo expressed concern about Iran’s escalating activity within Iraq. “We don’t want anyone interfering in their country,” he said.

The United States, Pompeo said, will continue supporting Iraq’s leadership to help ensure that Iraq “remains a sovereign, independent nation.”

“We’re working with our coalition partners in the region to strengthen the Iraqi Security Forces,” he added. The U.S. military will help train and make the ISF more professional so Iraqi leaders can have security control within their country’s borders.

Pompeo said his talks with Iraq’s leadership also included broader issues such as completing the destruction of ISIS. Plus, he said, “we talked about some of the things that Iraq needs to do to develop its own infrastructure,” particularly with regard to electricity, water supplies and energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas.

“We discussed big energy deals that are pending for Iraq, that can disconnect them from Iranian energy,” said Pompeo. Energy deals, he indicated, are just one example of how the U.S.-Iraqi partnership can promote a more prosperous future in Iraq.

On the issue of security, Iraqi leaders agreed that they have a responsibility to adequately protect Americans in their country, Pompeo told reporters.

Finally, said Pompeo, his trip to Baghdad sends a message that Iran should “think twice” about meddling with Iraq or with other U.S. partners because “the U.S. is going to defend its interests,” wherever they might be.