Pompeo threatens Iran with ‘strongest sanctions in history’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says 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.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran should have no doubt about our seriousness,” Pompeo said on Monday in his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA.
Speaking weeks after the United States’ move to withdraw from a landmark nuclear agreement Iran signed with major powers in 2015, he laid out 12 tough conditions for any “new deal” with Tehran. The conditions included withdrawal of Iran’s military advisors from Syria, who have been helping the country’s legitimate government in its anti-terror fight against terrorist outfits, which have been mostly aided and abetted by the US and its Western and regional allies.
He said Washington would be open to a new treaty and wanted the support of America’s allies.
He warned that “the sting of sanctions will be painful” and Iran would struggle to “keep its economy alive” if it “does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen.”
The US secretary of state said relief from sanctions would only come when the US had seen tangible shifts in Iran’s policies.
“Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East,” he said, adding that the United States would hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.
Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement. Tehran wants the Europeans to give it clear-cut guarantees about fulfilling their obligations if it remains in the accord.