Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said that the 2015 Obama era Iran nuclear deal had “fatal flaws,” and was preparing to inflict “the strongest sanctions in history” if Tehran did not change its destabilizing ways and forever abandon its drive for nuclear weapons, reports The Washington Times.
In an address to the Heritage Foundation, Pompeo laid out the Trump administration’s long-awaited Plan B following President Trump’s decision on May 8 to pull out of the Iran deal which already included countries like China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany that promised to ease economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s suspected nuclear programs.
While European allies have scrambled to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the Iran deal, Pompeo said the U.S. would push for a new deal with 12 demands on Iran, promising “unprecedented financial pressure” to force the Islamic Republic to negotiate.
“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” Pompeo, a longtime skeptic of the deal,” said Monday.
Among the demands: that Iran stop all enrichment of uranium; that Iran reveal all of its past programs to obtain a nuclear bomb; “unqualified access” for international inspectors to any suspect site inside Iran, including military bases; the release of American citizens held in Iranian jails; and a halt to Iran’s destabilizing moves throughout the Middle East, from its military support of Syria to its backing of proxy forces such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels forces in Yemen.
Pompeo has said that the deal in place already is “a loser” with huge repercussions throughout the Middle East, failing to guarantee Americans safety from the risks posed by Iran and ‘putting the world at risk because of its fatal flaws.”
“The plan permitted the Iranian regime to use money from [the JCPOA] to boost the economic fortunes of a struggling people, but the regime’s leaders refused to do so,” he said. “Instead, the government spent its newfound treasure fueling proxy wars across the Middle East.”
Pompeo also held out the prospect of a fuller U.S.-Iranian relationship if Tehran complied, including the end of all sanctions, full diplomatic relations and even economic aid.
“It is America’s hope that our labors toward peace and security bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran,” Pompeo said.
The Secretary of State did not specifically address the topic of a regime change in Iran, but instead posed related questions about the government in Tehran.
“Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran,” he said. “At this milestone we have to ask: What has the revolution given the Iranian people? The regime reaps a harvest of suffering and death in the Middle East at the expense of its own people.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Bahram Qassemi said a few hours after Pompeo’s speech in Washington that any future negotiations would have to be within the framework of the JCPOA.
“This proposition by America is for sure shameful and ludicrous,” Qassemi told a press conference in Tehran. “It sounds like a joke that they [the U.S.] should quit a multilateral international deal, which is backed by a U.N. resolution, and then look for further negotiations under new circumstances. I think nobody would even consider that.”
Diplomats from Iran, Europe, China, and Russia are expected to meet in Vienna later this week to discuss salvaging the Iran deal by offering Tehran financial aid in exchange for promises that it curb its ballistic missile development and meddling int he Middle East.
After Trump’s announcement of withdrawing from the deal, many European Union leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin to pledge to keep Iranian’s oil trade and investment into the country flowing. Major European companies have been buckling, however.
Last week, French energy giant Total S.A. announced plans to pull out of $1 billion gas project it launched in Iran in 2017 because of fears that renewed U.S. sanctions would impact its business elsewhere. Total executives said the firm will cease its Iranian operation by November unless it can secure waivers to U.S. sanctions.