US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is preparing to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Tehran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month, as he laid out a laundry list of demands for a new treaty.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo told the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in the nation’s capital, in his first major speech outlining Washington’s strategy for curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its “malign” regional behavior.
“The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran,” he added.
“Sanctions are going back in full effect, and new ones are coming,” he warned further. “The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning.”
Fulminating against the landmark international agreement brokered under the Obama administration, Pompeo said US President Donald Trump was “willing, ready and able” to negotiate a new deal, but not inside the context of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.
“We will not renegotiate the JCPOA itself,” he said.
The JCPOA “put the world at risk because of its fatal flaws,” he said, arguing that the weak sunset provisions of the JCPOA merely delayed Iran’s nuclear weapons capability. After the countdown clock ran out on the deal’s sunset provisions, he said, Iran would be free for a quick sprint to the bomb.
While certain restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire under the deal, including its ability to enrich uranium, the prohibition on Iran’s building a nuclear weapon is permanent. Former Obama officials who negotiated the pact object to the assertion that the JCPOA enables Tehran to go fully nuclear once those portions of the agreement sunset.
US Secretary Mike Pompeo on May 21 threatened Iran that unless it meets 12 US conditions, the Islamic Republic faces “unprecedented financial pressure.” In a speech delivered to the Heritage Institute, he laid out an exceptionally tough policy as a follow-up of the US exit from the 2015 nuclear accord. The conditions he laid down raised a stop sign for European efforts to salvage the accord by persuading Iran to renegotiate its terms, efforts that have been spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron. Pompeo made it clear that any improvements or amendments to the original deal which, he said, “put the world at risk because of its flaws,” were no longer open to discussion. Instead, he slapped down before Tehran a long list of conditions as an ultimatum to comply with, or face “the strongest sanctions in history once they come into full force” adding that the “string of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course.”
As for European business relations with Tehran, Pompeo made it clear that “punitive sanctions” would be applied to those who breach US sanctions.
Pompeo spoke of “unprecedented financial pressure” on Iran, which he called the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. He predicted that the Islamic Republic will be “battling to keep its economy alive” under the sanctions and will have to choose between maintaining its economy or sponsoring terrorist and insurgent groups like Hizballah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, in countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
The key demands Pompeo laid down for Iran included:
Releasing all its nuclear materials on the military applications of its nuclear program to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Halting all grades of uranium enrichment.
Dismantling enrichment facilities and nuclear reactors.
Giving up the development of ballistic missiles.
Withdrawing military forces from Syria
Discontinuing support for Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Withdrawing its support from the Yemeni Houthi insurgency.
Abandoning its threats to Red Sea shipping.
Cutting off its arms supplies to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Putting a stop to threats against Israel and Gulf nations.
Pompeo said that should Iran make “major changes,” the US will be willing to lift all sanctions. DEBKAfile’s sources:
Pompeo’s detailed ultimatum will be taken in Tehran as a declaration of war by America on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The “maximum pressure” policy for Iran was not unexpected in view of the forthcoming coming nuclear negotiations ahead of the Trump administration and North Korea. Tough US sanctions are also seen to be well integrated with Israel’s continuous military assaults on the military sites Iran has been establishing in Syria. The regime in Tehran will no doubt forcefully slam Pompeo’s ultimatum and may retaliate by resuming uranium enrichment coupled with military steps. On Monday, May 21, the US may be said to have gone to war against Iran.