International Desk: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made an unscheduled, fleeting visit to Iraq, amid growing tensions with Iran.
Mr Pompeo cancelled a trip to Berlin to meet with Iraqi leaders during a four-hour stop in the capital Baghdad.
The visit came days after a US aircraft carrier was deployed to the region, which officials said was in response to threats to US forces and its allies from Iran.
On Tuesday it was revealed the US was sending B-52 bombers to the region.
The US has given little information about the exact nature of the reported threat, which Iran has dismissed as nonsense.
John Bolton, the US national security adviser, said only that the US was acting "in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" on announcing the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln on Sunday.
The US has released very few details about Mr Pompeo's short trip to Baghdad. However, it is known that he met with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he also directly linked the visit to the recent escalation with Iran, which neighbours Iraq.
The Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a "new deal" that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what officials call its "malign behaviour" across the Middle East.
The sanctions have led to a sharp downturn in Iran's economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, driving away foreign investors, and triggering protests.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to retaliate to the US measures by blocking the Strait of Hormuz - though which about a fifth of all oil consumed globally pass.
risingbd/Dhaka/May 8, 2019/Nasim