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Pompeo: U.S. to Impose “Strongest Sanctions in History” on Iran

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the Trump administration is preparing to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran after withdrawing from the JCPOA, also known as the nuclear accord, The Times of Israel reported.

In his first major speech as Secretary of State, Pompeo laid out a bucket list of 12 demands for Iran to meet if Tehran wishes to negotiate a new treaty with the United States, and outlined the White House’s plan to curtail Iran’s illicit nuclear activity and “malign” regional behavior.

Pompeo demanded that Iran come clean about all of its past nuclear work, provide the International Atomic Energy Agency “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country”, including military sites, halt its ballistic missile development and testing, completely stop its uranium enrichment, end its support for Middle East terrorist groups, and respect the sovereignty of the neighboring countries.

“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo told the audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “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. “The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning (…) We will not renegotiate the JCPOA itself,” he vowed.

Pompeo indicated that for the United States all options remain on the table to prevent Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities. “If they restart their nuclear program, they will have big problems, bigger problems than they’ve ever had before,” he said. Pompeo also threatened to “crush” Iran’s terrorist proxies around the world.”

Outlining the White House’s regional strategy to counter Iran, the Secretary of State said, “We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region. We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world.” He continued: “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”

Pompeo added: “We will continue to work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran’s proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapons that threaten peace and stability.” He also said, “We will also ensure Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon — ever.”

He demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) must end its support for terrorists and that Iran must “end its threatening behavior against its neighbors, including Israel.” Iran, Pompeo said, must also dismantle its entire military infrastructure in Syria.

The IRGC “has flown an armed drone into Israeli airspace and launched salvos of rockets into the Golan Heights from Syria (…) Our steadfast ally Israel has asserted its sovereign right of self-defense in response, a stance the U.S. will continue to unequivocally support,” he observed.

At the same time, Pompeo left the door open for new negotiations with Iran, based on Tehran’s willingness to make “major changes.” Pompeo said that, under an agreement that meets the 12 requirements laid out by the Trump administration, the U.S. would be willing to lift all sanctions, and restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran.

The Secretary made clear that with the strategy the White House announced today the U.S. expects “the support of our most important allies and partners in the region and around the globe. I don’t just mean our friends in Europe.” He also warned that if Europe continues to trade with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions, they will be held “to account.”

[Photo: YouTube/ U.S. Department of State]