U.S. to Put 'Unprecedented Pressure' on Iran, Asks It to 'Withdraw Forces' from Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The United States will increase the financial pressure on Iran with the "strongest sanctions in history," after Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness," Pompeo said in his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA.
"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," he said in outlining the new U.S. strategy on handling the Islamic regime, including 12 tough conditions from Washington for any "new deal" with Tehran.
Pompeo's list of 12 tough requirements included many that Iran is highly unlikely to consider.
He said Iran must "stop enrichment" of uranium, which was allowed within strict limitations under the 2015 deal. Iran must also allow nuclear "unqualified access to all sites throughout the country," Pompeo said, alluding to military sites that were off-limits under the 2015 deal except under specific circumstances. To that end, he also said Iran must declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon, reopening an issue that the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency has already deemed a closed matter.
Pompeo also demanded that Iran cease from a range of activities throughout the Middle East that have long drawn the ire of the U.S. and its allies. He said Iran must end support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, "withdraw all forces" from Syria, halt support for its ally Hizbullah and stop threatening Israel.
Iran must also "release all U.S. citizens" missing in Iran or being held on "spurious charges," he said.
At the same time, Pompeo offered Iran a series of dramatic potential U.S. concessions if it agrees to make "major changes." Under a new agreement, the U.S. would be willing to lift all sanctions, restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, and even support the modernization of its economy, Pompeo said.
"It is America's hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran," Pompeo said.