US Threatens Iran With the 'Strongest Sanctions in History'

Mike Pompeo Threatens to Impose the 'Strongest Sanctions in History' on Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is offering a series of dramatic potential US concessions to Iran if it agrees to make "major changes".

He was gauging worldwide readiness to guarantee Iran's interests if it decides to remain in the nuclear pact a week after US President Donald Trump announced that the US was walking away from the JCPOA. It would need to accept broader constraints not just on its nuclear activities but also on its missile programme and wider behaviour in the region.

While the speech did not explicitly call for regime change, critics have said the goal of the current USA administration is anything but to see the Mullahs in Tehran toppled. "The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness", Pompeo said in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

"After our sanctions come into full force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive", he added.

As he called for a better agreement to constrain Iran's activities, he said the USA would "apply unprecedented financial pressure" to bring Tehran back to the table.

The address comes as Trump focuses on a related gambit with nuclear-armed North Korea.

The suggestion of a further US military role in the region was striking, since US President Donald Trump has said he seeks to draw down the US troop presence in Syria, where Iran provides training and arms to militiamen.

He said Germany had found that sticking to a balanced budget had resulted in more prosperity and financial wiggle room, and meant it could invest more.

"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.

The new vision is Trump-style diplomacy - a promise to "crush" Iranian operatives and impose the "strongest sanctions in history" unless the Islamic Republic abandons all nuclear development and gives up what the US considers its malign role across the Middle East.

The deal was also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.

The prospects for future Iran will be further explored on June 30 at the major rally of the Iranian opposition near Paris, which annually attracts a crowd of over 100,000, including hundreds of supporters from political, academic, and security circles of the USA and Europe, the Middle East, and much of the world. Russia, China and India are unlikely to bow to U.S. pressure.

Media captionWhat is the Iran nuclear deal?

"We would of course have wished that an important and strong partner like the USA had remained in the Vienna accord", Peter Beyer, coordinator for trans-Atlantic relations in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, said in a ZDF television interview on Tuesday.

First and foremost, it is highly crucial for Iran that the Europeans keep buying oil from the country - now around 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) or roughly 40% of overall Iranian oil exports. "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?"

Mahaffee said that Pompeo laid out a comprehensive plan to push back against Iranian power in the Middle East and did so with a willingness to confront European allies' interests in improved economic ties with Iran.

He said at least 10 pages of the JCPOA have been overlooked because six or seven articles of the deal are about the U.S. commitments.

Warning the Iranian regime that "this is just the beginning", Pompeo said, the United States would "apply unprecedented financial pressure on the regime" unless it met the stricter demands. A member of the Iranian parliament's national security committee suggested that the best approach would be to wait for USA policy to change once Trump leaves office. A longtime congressional opponent of the nuclear accord, he reverted to that hawkish posture Monday, evoking a time when he said the United States could bomb away Iran's nuclear program with "under 2,000 sorties". "But you should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account". Putin, however, has so far shown no indication that it is ready to abandon Iran to please the USA or Israel.

He insisted diplomacy was the first choice, however.

In return, sanctions imposed by the UN, US and European Union that had crippled Iran's economy were lifted.

"Iran continues to be - during the JCPOA - the world's largest sponsor of terror".

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