Pompeo vows ‘strongest sanctions in history’ on Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Monday to levy an “unprecedented” level of sanctions on Iran after the U.S. announced it was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord.

In his fist major foreign policy address since becoming chief diplomat, Pompeo laid out 12 pillars the U.S. would demand from Iran for a new deal, even as he said a new agreement is “not the objective” of the Trump administration.

{mosads}“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo told an audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete.”

Pompeo was speaking roughly two weeks after President Trump announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions that were lifted as part of the accord.

The Obama-era agreement between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Russia, along with the European Union, gave Tehran billions in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

Trump’s withdrawal has left the deal’s future in question, with the European signatories scrambling to save it.

In hopes of saving the deal, the EU has said it will invoke its so-called blocking statute to protect its companies doing business with Iran from U.S. sanctions.

In his speech, Pompeo acknowledged the concerns European allies have with the United States reimposing sanctions, but said businesses from all countries must make sacrifices to change Iran’s behavior.

“Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity,” he said. “Everyone’s going to have to participate in this. Every country’s going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for [Quds Force Commander] Qasem Soleimani.”

Pompeo vowed the Trump administration would renegotiate the current deal and listed 12 conditions Iran must agree to for a new deal. Those include giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the full history and military dimensions of its nuclear program, stopping all enrichment including closing its heavy water reactor, giving the IAEA unqualified access to the country, ending proliferation of ballistic missiles, releasing all U.S. detainees and ending support for proxies around the Middle East.

“As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing and able to negotiate a new deal, but the deal is not the objective,” he said. “Our goal is to protect the American people.”

Pompeo added that the administration wants congressional support for its efforts. The Iran deal was not structured as a treaty, meaning it did not require Senate approval.

“We want our efforts to have broad support among the American people and endure beyond the Trump administration,” he said. “A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”

In the coming weeks, Pompeo said teams of specialists will be traveling around the world to explain the administration’s policy and discuss the implications of sanction reimposition.

Though Europe has promised to maintain its commitments to the nuclear deal, Pompeo said he’s “convinced” he can get allies on board with the Trump administration’s plan.

“The United States intends to work hard at the diplomatic piece of working alongside all of our partners,” he said. “We focus on the Europeans, but there are scores of countries around the world who share our concerns and are equally threatened by the Iranian regime. It’s that shared interest that’s the value set which will ultimately drive, I believe, the global response to this, to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. I’m convinced it can take place.”

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pompeo

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