Pompeo threatens Iran with the 'strongest sanctions in history'

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday

Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear accord struck between world powers and Tehran has rattled close USA allies in Europe who had been counseling the American president against taking such action. He said the new policy sought to strangle Iran's "economic capacity to do harm to the Middle East and to the world".

"Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East", he said in outlining the new USA strategy on handling the Islamic regime, including 12 tough conditions from Washington for any "new deal" with Teheran.

"We are not asking anything other than that Iranian behavior be consistent with global norms", Pompeo said. Speaking of the commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, America's top diplomat said he "has been playing with house money that has become blood money; wealth created by the West has fueled his campaign". "But you know, we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account". "This is the right policy".

Pompeo said if Iran made major changes, the USA was prepared to ease sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations and support the country's re-integration into the global economic system. However, most importantly, the Obama team wanted to stop Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon in weeks, which is exactly what the nuclear deal did, although that outcome is now uncertain.

Israel stole and revealed the nuclear archives earlier this month, in a stunning intelligence coup.

Unlike South Africa and Libya, Iran did not destroy its nuclear archive when it dismantled its atomic program, said Netanyahu.

Pompeo said Iran will continue to feel the "sting of sanctions" if its doesn't change the "unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen".

"Sanctions are going back in full effect, and new ones are coming", he warned.

Pompeo said that that if Iran meets the Trump administration's demands the US would end the sanctions, give Iran access to advanced technology and re-establish diplomatic and commercial relations.

"We will not renegotiate the JCPOA itself", he said. He said the deal "merely delayed the inevitable nuclear-weapons capability" that he said Iran was developing, and that the pact put the "world at risk". In that crisis, the administration says it won't accept a strategy of synchronized, step-by-step concessions in exchange for North Korea gradually giving into demands to give up its nuclear program.

"Pompeo also threatened to "crush" Iran's terrorist proxies around the world".

Even after Iran's revolutionary guard corps detained and humiliated 10 USA sailors who drifted into Iranian territorial waters, Kerry made sure to thank Zarif for helping to get them released. "This is a whole of government solution that we're working in order to change Iran's influence in the region and we're continuing to do that".

As for European allies who hope to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Pompeo offered no concessions. His book The Iran Agenda Today: the Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis (Routledge Books) will be published this Fall.

The US demand that Tehran stop uranium enrichment goes further than the Iran nuclear deal. He said the length of the list was simple testament to the "scope of the malign behavior of Iran".

Under the new demands, Iran must declare the military dimensions of its nuclear programme and "permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity", stop uranium enrichment and allow global inspectors "unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country".

The administration billed the speech, Pompeo's first policy address as secretary of state, as an articulation of Trump's new strategy toward Iran less than a month after he ignored the pleas of US allies and withdrew from the nuclear accord. Why is that? Katulis argues that the all-or-nothing-with-no-leverage approach "further fragments political support at home for USA engagement overseas and created unnecessary ruptures with allies at a time when we need to build coalitions at home and overseas to get real results".

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