Pompeo threatened Iran with heavy sanctions if a new nuclear deal isn’t reached, but offered a list of concessions in case Iran chooses to cooperate.
Watch: Pompeo unveils “Plan B”
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday laid out Washington’s new approach on Iran after its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, commonly referred to as “Plan B.” The Iranian regime, he said, could face “the worst sanctions in history.”
Pompeo began by attacking the Obama administration for signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), claiming it has only worsened the situation in the Middle East.
“The bet that the JCPOA would increase Middle East stability was a bad one for America, for Europe, for the Middle East and indeed for the entire world,” he said. “It is clear that the JCPOA has not ended Iran’s nuclear ambitions, nor did it deter its quest for a regional hegemony.”
Pompeo added that, going forward, the US will “continue to work with allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror and address Iran’s proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapon systems that threaten peace and stability. We will also ensure that Iran has no path to a nuclear weapon. Not now, not ever.”
“We’ll pursue these goals along several lines of effort,” he continued. “First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness. … The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course. … 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.”
“Second, I will work closely with the Department of Defense and our regional allies to deter Iranian aggression,” Pompeo said. “We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”
“Third, we will also advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people. The regime must improve how it treats its citizens,” he added. “The protests last winter showed that many are angered at the regime that keeps for itself what (it) steals from its people.”
“We’re open to new steps, not only with our allies and partners, but with Iran as well. But only if Iran is willing to make major changes,” In exchange for such changes, he added, the US would end sanctions, reestablish diplomatic and commercial relationships with Iran and allow it access to advanced technology.