» News » US threatens Iran with the 'strongest sanctions in history'

US threatens Iran with the 'strongest sanctions in history'

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: May 21, 2018 22:15 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The United States on Monday threatened to apply 'unprecedented' financial pressure on Iran along with other punitive measures if Tehran does not give up its reported goal of developing nuclear weapons and alleged destabilising behaviour in the region, including supporting terrorist groups.

At the same time, the Trump administration promised resumption of diplomatic and economic relations with Iran, along with financial aid, and technology transfers if Tehran agreed to a verifiable regime to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programme.

In his first major foreign policy speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought the support of European allies and other global partners and friends, including India.


"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," he said.

"I mean Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and many, many others worldwide," Pompeo said in his address at the Heritage Foundation, a top American think-tank.

"I know we share the same goals in facing the challenge from the Iranian regime. We welcome any nation which is sick and tired of the nuclear threats, the terrorism, the missile proliferation, and the brutality of a regime at peace with inflicting chaos on innocent people," he said.

Pompeo demanded that Iran must declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear programme, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.

Iran, he said, must stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing including closing its heavy water reactor.

Demanding that Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the country, Pompeo said that Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missiles, and it must release all US citizens, as well as citizens of US partners and allies, detained on spurious charges or missing in Iran.

Iran, he said, must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Asserting that Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilisation, and reintegration of Shia militias, Pompeo said that Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.

He also demanded that Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria, end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harbouring al-Qaeda, and it must end its Quds Force's support for terrorists and militant partners.

Pompeo said Iran must also cease its threatening behaviour against its neighbours -- many of whom are US allies. This includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It also includes its threats to international shipping and destructive cyber-attacks.

"These are 12 basic requirements. This list may seem long to some, but it is simply a reflection of the massive scope of Iranian malign behaviour. America did not create this need for changed behaviour, Iran did," Pompeo said.

The top American diplomat then said that in exchange for major changes from Iran, the US is prepared to take actions which will benefit the Iranian people.

These areas of action include, all principal components of the US sanctions regime, the reestablishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations, access for Iran to advanced technology, and support for the modernisation and reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system.

"Relief from sanctions will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran's policies. We acknowledge Iran's right to defend its people. But not its actions which jeopardise the world's citizens," Pompeo said.

While seeking support from friends and allies on the new Iranian policy, Pompeo warned that the new Iranian sanctions would kick in if they continued business as usual with Iran.

The US is not asking anything other than Iranian behaviour that is consistent with global norms and the elimination of Iran's capacity to 'threaten' the world with its nuclear activities, he said.

He acknowledged that America's reimposition of sanctions and the coming pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of US friends.

"We want to hear your concerns. But you should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account," he said.

Over the coming weeks, the Trump administration will send teams of specialists to countries around the world to further explain the US policy, discuss the implications of sanctions reimposition, and hear their concerns.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
Source: PTI© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
The War Against Coronavirus

The War Against Coronavirus