Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a stern warning to Iran on Monday to either comply with a list of American demands or face “the strongest sanctions in history.”
“The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning,” Pompeo said, according to The Guardian.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama and vowed that the United States would fight the growing influence of Iran in the Middle East. Pompeo’s speech Monday offered the first insights as to how the Trump administration plans to proceed.
“Sanctions are going back in full effect, and new ones are coming,” Pompeo said at the Heritage Foundation, CNN reported.
Pompeo stressed that the Defense Department will play an active role in America’s Iran policy.
“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 and crush them,” Pompeo said. “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”
Pompeo said the Trump administration will build on the success of the approaches that brought North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to the negotiating table.
“Our willingness to meet Kim Jong-Un underscores the Trump administration’s commitment to diplomacy to help solve the greatest challenges, even with our staunchest adversaries,” said Pompeo, according to Fox News. “That willingness has been accompanied by a painful pressure campaign that reflects our commitment to resolve this challenge forever.”
Pompeo said Trump is digging for the long haul.
“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,” Pompeo said, according to Reuters.“These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done.”
“Our demands on Iran are not unreasonable: give up your program,” Pompeo said. “Should they choose to go back, should they begin to enrich, we are fully prepared to respond to that as well,” he said. He did not expand on that comment.
Pompeo laid down a list of demands. He demanded that Iran give a full account of its past efforts to build nuclear weapons; stop all uranium enrichment; end launches of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles; end support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; withdraw all Iranian forces from Syria; and stop backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Pompeo danced around the subject of regime change in Iran.
“At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. 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.
Pompeo criticized the Obama administration for the deal with Iran.
“Strategically, the Obama administration made a bet that the deal would spur Iran to stop its rogue-state actions and conform to international norms,” Pompeo said. “That bet was a loser with massive repercussions for all people living in the Middle East.”
Pompeo warned European nations that the U.S. was serious, and would be watching to see who tried to support Iran and who supported the U.S.
“I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make. They know where we stand,” he said.
“We understand our re-imposition of sanctions and the coming pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends,” he said. “But you should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.”
Pompeo said the administration’s bottom line is a nuclear-free Iran.
“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,” Pompeo said in the speech. “We will also ensure Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon — ever.”
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