BBC News: US vows 'strongest sanctions in history' on Iran

Pompeo speech on Iran

Pompeo speech on Iran

And to make matters worse, the White House is less likely to get any of the cooperation it needs from Europe to apply "unprecedented financial pressure" because of how the Trump administration handled the Iran deal in recent months.

The United States will increase the financial pressure on Iran with the "strongest sanctions in history", after Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Teheran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded sweeping changes that would force Iran effectively to reverse years of its foreign policies.

"We welcome any nation which is sick and exhausted of the nuclear threats, the terrorism, the missile proliferation and the brutality of a regime at peace with inflicting chaos on innocent people", Mr Pompeo said.

Pompeo accused Iran's revolutionary Shiite Muslim government of using the funds that were unfrozen when it agreed to curb its nuclear production in 2015 to support militant groups overseas, including USA -designated terrorist organizations such as the Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, as well as Sunni Muslim jihadi groups like Al-Qaeda, the Palestinian Hamas and the Afghan Taliban.

Pompeo called on Iran to halt missile development, "release all USA citizens", withdraw from Syria, and cease support for groups which the U.S. considers to be "terrorist", namely Hezbollah.

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CGTN's Mike Walter talks with Remi Piet, political economy and foreign affairs researcher at Florida International University, about US threats to impose additional sanctions on Iran unless it meets new USA demands.

So, Iran remains a problem, the United States is more isolated and less trusted overseas, and Iran is now able to, at a time of its choosing, turn up the nuclear pressure, because the nuclear accord is on life support.

The EU said in a statement: "Secretary Pompeo's speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA has made or will make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation or how it puts us in a better position to influence Iran's conduct in areas outside the scope of JCPOA".

Pompeo said if Iran made major changes, the USA was prepared to ease sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations and support the country's re-integration into the global economic system.

The speech earned praise in some quarters for the "toughness" of Pompeo's ultimatum to Iran's leaders, and his message of support for the Iranian people. Last week, the French energy company Total said it would be forced to end a multi-billion dollar project in Iran unless it receives a sanctions waiver by November.

"The Iranian regime should know that this is just the beginning", Pompeo warned.

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The Trump administration has branded Iran "the world's largest sponsor of terror" and, earlier this month, officially withdrew the USA from the nuclear agreement negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama. He said the United States would take "all necessary steps" to contain Iran, but declined to provide specifics.

"We want to hear your concerns", Pompeo said.

The new deal he proposed included demands to curb Tehran's ballistic missile programme and its expansionist moves in the Middle East.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has said "it's possible" that the USA would also impose sanctions on European corporations who continue to do business with Iran and attempt to uphold the JCPOA.

Iran foe Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Pompeo's speech, and urged the rest of the world to follow suit. And they are going to do this with a president whom most US allies don't trust and who has proved that he will not abide by agreements negotiated in good faith? "True the public is alienated from the regime but the USA visa policy also alienates them". Noting the protests over the economic crisis and women's rights since December, Pompeo made it clear the Administration sides with Iran's "struggling people".

Pompeo listed 12 demands that the United States has for Iran, including ending to Iranian military support to the Houthi in Yemen, withdrawing all Iranian forces in Syria; and respecting Iraq's sovereignty and permitting the Iraqi government to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate Shia militias.

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