US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened to place “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if its government does not change course and end its support for Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Mr Pompeo called for a new nuclear agreement with Iran following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
He said the Trump administration prefers for it to be a treaty that is ratified by Congress.
Pompeo set out a list of 12 “basic requirements” for Iran that he says should be included in the deal.
He said Iran must “stop enrichment” of uranium and never pre-process plutonium. Iran must also allow nuclear inspectors “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country”.
Regarding the Middle East, the U.S.’s list includes releasing “all U.S. Citizens as well as citizens of our partners and allies”; the end of “support to Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad”; and that “Iran must end its threatening behavior against neighbors, including threats to destroy Israel and attacks on Saudi Arabia.”
“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation in his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat.
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.
“At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make their choice about their leadership,” Pompeo said. “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 that I set forward today.”
“I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make,” Pompeo said. “They know where we stand.”