Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t playing when it comes to Iran, and neither is this White House administration — thankfully.
While Barack Obama may have dithered with the mullahs and spoke softly and diplomatically with Tehran, Pompeo told the rogue regime, in no uncertain terms, sanctions are coming.
And they’re going to be the strongest the world’s ever known, he vowed.
From the New York Post:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Monday that the US is prepared to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran doesn’t change its belligerent ways.
“Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East,” Pompeo told a packed audience at the Heritage Foundation.
“This is just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful. These will be the strongest sanctions in history when complete.”
Pompeo laid out a list of a dozen changes the US is demanding of the Iranian regime — from respecting the sovereignty of the Iraqi government to pulling its troops out of Syria.
He said Iran must also release all American prisoners and prisoners of US allies.
A number of provisions relate to Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well, with Pompeo vowing that the country would have “no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever.”
“You know, the list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements,” he said. “The length of the list is simply a scope for the maligned behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did.”
If Iran does play ball, Pompeo promised that the US would help the country fully rejoin the world economy and open diplomatic relations with Tehran.
“It is America’s hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran,” the secretary of state said.
The end goal, Pompeo suggested, would be a treaty with Iran — separate from the nuclear deal that the Trump administration scuttled.
“We want to include Congress as a partner in this process,” he explained. “We want our efforts to have broad support among the American people and endure beyond the Trump administration. A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”
The Iran nuclear deal, negotiated under the Obama administration, was not a treaty and thus didn’t need Senate approval.
Iran is unlikely to consider the full list of demands, which includes giving the International Atomic Energy Agency full access to all the country’s nuclear sites and banning the use of a heavy-water reactor, the easiest way for a country to develop nuclear energy.
Pompeo said the U.S wanted Iran to give the International Atomic Energy Agency a full account of the dimensions of its nuclear program and “verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.”
He also asked that Iran disengage from groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. That Iran stop supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, the “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” and the Houthi militia in Yemen.
Speaking directly to the Iranian people, Pompeo during his speech tried shaming the country’s leadership.
“Today we ask the Iranian people — is this what you want your country to be known for? For being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and al Qaeda?” he said.
“The United States believes you deserve better.”
Despite pressure from top European leaders, President Trump announced he was pulling out of the Iran deal on May 9.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” the president said then.
By making the announcement, Trump fulfilled a campaign promise, though rattled relations with European allies and potentially undermined any chance of getting a nuclear agreement with North Korea, critics pointed out.
During his speech today, Pompeo acknowledged that “our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran.”
“That is their decision to make,” he said.
But the US hopes that Europe will instead work with Washington to use sanctions to get Iran to agree to a stronger deal.
“They know where we stand,” Pompeo said.
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