US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned Tehran would be hit with the "strongest sanctions in history" and cautioned European firms against continuing to do business with it, toughening up Washington's policy line after its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
"That's nonsense, nothing can be agreed on this basis", he said from Vienna in a video conference.
"Secretary Pompeo's speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA has made or will make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation or how it puts us in a better position to influence Iran's conduct in areas outside the scope of JCPOA", Federica Mogherini, the European Union's vice president and foreign policy chief, said in a statement."There is no alternative to the JCPOA".
He accused Washington of trying to create a new crisis, stressing that the Iranian response would be "rational", according to the ISNA agency.
He added that Pompeo made the speech in a war of nerves with Iran by saying that Washington will increase the financial pressure on Iran by imposing the "strongest sanctions in history" on the Islamic Republic if Tehran refuses to change the course of its foreign and domestic policy.
He did not mention Russian Federation or China, which both signed the nuclear accord and are unlikely to back greater USA sanctions on Iran, a clear weakness in any new crackdown on Iran.
Yet the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA is unlikely to trigger any change in Iran that would be beneficial to Washington.
But EU officials admit there is a limit to what they can do to parry sanctions as a wave of European companies quit business with Tehran, fearing the global reach of USA sanctions.
Pompeo vows US and allies will 'crush' Iranian operatives globally
"We know there are hardly any larger companies in Europe that do not also trade with the United States". Perhaps President Trump and his staunchly anti-Iran advisers are hoping that these confrontations between Rouhani and Iran's powerful hardliners may eventually lead to a much desired "regime change" in the country.
Iranian President quickly dismissed the threats, saying the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf.
"I'm afraid that Pompeo is substituting ultimatums for diplomacy", said Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council.
"Who are you to want to dictate to Iran and the world, and tell Iran what to do or not to do when it comes to nuclear technology?" Can it protect its companies which are working in Iran?
Among the items on Pompeo's wish list is a full acknowledgment of Iran's previous attempts to develop a nuclear weapon. Pompeo further called on Iran to halt its ballistic missile program.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that to meet United States demands, Iran would have to transform itself into another country altogether and acknowledge a secondary status in the Middle East hierarchy. "And one can not help but think that is the strategy and the goal".
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is interviewed by The Associated Press in New York, April 24, 2018.
In his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Pompeo said he saw no evidence that Iran was seeking to build a nuclear bomb given the constraints of the 2015 arms control deal. Previous US officials and the Europeans consider them relative pragmatists who are less dogmatic than the radical theocrats. "The [Iranian] regime has been fighting all over the Middle East for years. It is worth the Iranian people considering".