WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today threatened to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if it doesnt change course, while also outlining a list of demands the Islamic republic is almost certain to chafe at.
Pompeo stopped just short of issuing a military threat against Iran and denounced the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as a bad bet that the agreement would prompt the Iranian government into better behavior on the regional and world stage.
“The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete,” Pompeo said in remarks at the Heritage Foundation. “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.”
The secretary of states remarks came weeks after Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement struck in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, that was intended to block the Iranian governments path to a nuclear weapon. Trump has derided the agreement as the “worst deal ever” and complained that it did little to correct other Iranian behavior seen by the U.S. as troubling, including alleged human rights violations and funding groups identified by the U.S. as terrorist organizations.
Trumps decision to pull out of the Iran deal came despite pleas from U.S. allies that he not do so, while the move was celebrated by the Israeli government, which has long criticized the agreement.
In his Monday morning remarks, Pompeo laid out a 12-point list of demands he said the world should expect of Iran, including transparency and access for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the release of Americans held in Iran, an end to funding groups labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S. and the cessation of other destabilizing activities in the region.