Middle East Eye Mon., May 21, 2018
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pic on left) has outlined 12 conditions required of Iran before any “new deal” will be made with the country, in a speech threatening the “strongest sanctions in history” on the Islamic Republic.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo said in his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA.
“The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness.”
“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 in the speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.
“Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”
Among the 12 points listed by Pompeo, Iran must “withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria”, “stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing”, “end support for the Taliban” and “cease harbouring al-Qaeda”:
Pompeo said if Iran were to abide by the stricter terms, the United States would lift its sanctions.
“We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them,” Pompeo said.
“Iran will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It will not have the resources to do both.”
President Donald Trump has long said the original 2015 deal with Iran – also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – did not go far enough, and now wants the Europeans and others to support his hardline strategy.
“In the strategy we are announcing today, we want 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,” Pompeo said.
The secretary of state also warned European businesses who work with Iran in violation of US sanctions that they will be held “to account”.
The re-establishment of the US sanctions is likely to force European companies to choose between investing in Iran or trading with the United States.
The European Union is currently trying to persuade Iran to stay in the 2015 agreement, even without Washington’s participation.
On Friday, the European Commission proposed that EU governments make direct money transfers to Iran’s central bank to avoid US penalties, a step which would bypass the US financial system.
Full article here: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/12-points-1658258396