Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday launched a sweeping broadside against the Iranian government, vowing to use all US economic and military might to destroy its economy and "crush" its operatives and proxies around the world.
The spat comes after several European companies expressed concern about continuing business with Iran following the USA exit, raising further doubts about the viability of the deal.
The United States' European allies oppose the president's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were briefed later about the talks. It also includes its threats to worldwide shipping and destructive cyberattacks. These are: that America can live with Iranian regional aggression in exchange for temporary limits on its nuclear program; that the 2015 nuclear bargain expressed the will of the worldwide community; and that Iran's current elected leadership can moderate the country over time.
The deal was created to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Thousands more attended Friday prayers in Tehran to hear hardline leaders denounce Trump's actions. What is that strategy?
'The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations, ' U.S. Secretary of State said.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an influential Friday prayer leader in Tehran, warned against making deals with the West "since they can not be trusted". Trump ordered that sanctions be reimposed. The same administration that can't do simple things like vet nominees, fill government positions, enact executive orders, or avoid alienating the United States' oldest and closet allies is now going to recreate the most penetrating and effective sanctions system in human history? It arrested US citizens even as its diplomats were negotiating the nuclear deal.
Pompeo was aiming to answer the question of what happens next following Trump's announcement this month that he was pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal. "People, I think, are overstating the disagreements between the USA and Europe". He said the deal "merely delayed the inevitable nuclear-weapons capability" that he said Iran was developing, and that the pact put the "world at risk".
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Understandably, Europe isn't in the mood to now abandon an accord it claims to want to preserve (however hard that might be moving forward).
Now the Europeans, Russians and Chinese are part of a much larger group America wants to press the Iranians to change their ways. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, striving to use all the diplomatic tact he could muster, called Pompeo's "jumbo" plan "very hard".
The speech lacked specifics in many areas, namely how the Administration will mobilize key players in the global economy to side with it in punishing Iran. It has outlined an entirely unrealistic list of demands both in terms of means and ends.
Pompeo also warned European companies conducting business with Iran that the US would also subject them to economic penalties.
Still, Tehran is looking for backup plans: China's CNPC, which partnered with French Total on the Phase 11 development of the South Pars gas field, has already said it was ready to take over the French company's share of the project should it be forced to leave it if the U.S. Treasury does not grant it a sanction waiver. It is a strategy for disaster. That is not a strategy for success.