USA demands Iran make broad changes

USA demands Iran make broad changes

USA demands Iran make broad changes

Weeks after President Donald Trump pulled out of an global nuclear deal with Iran, his administration threatened to impose "the strongest sanctions in history", and vowed to "crush" Iranian operatives overseas, setting Washington and Tehran further on a course of confrontation.

Drawing sharp contrasts with the 2015 deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a stronger pact should require that Iran stop enrichment of uranium, which was allowed within strict limitations under the previous deal.

The existing problems in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Afghanistan are the results of the USA policies in the region, therefore, "the Americans are not entitled to influence Iran's policies in its own region".

The re-establishment of U.S. sanctions will force European companies to choose between investing in Iran or trading with the United States. 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. Iran is spreading aggressively throughout the Middle East.

Pompeo did offer Iran a series of dramatic potential USA concessions if it agrees to make "major changes".

Pompeo stopped short of calling directly for regime change, but he urged Iranians to think of Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as part of a corrupt, venal and unsafe regime.

On May 18, the European Commission proposed to let EU members make payments for oil directly to the Iranian Central Bank to bypass United States sanctions.

US President Donald Trump's newly installed top diplomat also hinted at the possibility of military action should Iranian leaders reconstitute their nuclear program.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has condemned the U.S. for vowing to impose what it said would be the "strongest sanctions in history" on his country.

Remarkably, Pompeo made no concessions to European leaders who want to salvage the nuclear deal and continue relations with Iran. "If they choose their commercial interest is to trade with US and not to seek new contract with Iran, that's for them".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
GETTYIranian President Hassan Rouhani

Besides imposing unbearable economic costs, he also vowed to "crush" Iranian operatives and their proxies so Tehran will "never have the carte blanche to dominate the Middle East". Any company doing business with Iran will be held "to account" through sanctions the US plans to implement within months.

"Iran must release all USA citizens, as well as the citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges. The great people of Iran support him".

Laying out Trump's new approach Monday, Pompeo said he couldn't put a timeline on how long the strategy might take.

"Iran will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth in fights overseas". If Rouhani is removed from office, he would most likely be replaced by a hardliner, a military figure perhaps from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who would only increase the country's hostility towards the U.S. and its allies. "If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful, if they choose not to do so we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes I set forward", said Pompeo.

The remarks by Pompeo came almost two weeks after his boss Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal.

Mogherini called on the keep its commitments as part of the agreement signed under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

He says if a deal was reached that satisfies the Trump administration, the USA would be willing to lift all economic sanctions.

Pompeo said he understood that Trump's decision "will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends".

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has underlined that any decision to keep the deal running without the U.S. should be conditional on "practical guarantees" from the three European parties to the JCPOA. "That is their decision to make", Pompeo said. Previous US officials and the Europeans consider them relative pragmatists who are less dogmatic than the radical theocrats.

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