'Who are you?' Iran hits back at USA demands


The idea that sanctions will prompt Iran to cease its nuclear program or cut support for long-time regional allies-both of which it considers vital to its national interest-shows a lack of seriousness from the Trump administation, argues Ashford.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday he will travel to Washington to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Washington's stance on an global nuclear deal with Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded Iran makes sweeping changes, warning the regime that US sanctions would "only grow more painful" if they do not change their ways.

"These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete", Mr Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation, his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat. He also demanded Iran release all USA citizens imprisoned on a variety of charges, including espionage, as well as citizens of countries allied with the U.S.

Mr Pompeo's speech came after Mr Trump earlier this month infuriated USA allies in Europe by withdrawing from the 2015 deal brokered by President Barack Obama, Iran and world powers.

Pompeo declared: "We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region". I mean, there are European countries who are really wondering how businesses in Europe may or may not be able to keep doing business with Iran if there are new, tough sanctions in place.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, attending the G20 foreign ministers´ meeting in Buenos Aires, said he was not surprised by Pompeo´s critique of the Iran deal, before adding: "We do not see at this time a better alternative".

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

"He will not live forever, nor will the Iranian people abide the rigid rule of tyrants forever", Pompeo said.

Though some European businesses have said they will comply with the US demands and stop doing business with Iran, some European leaders have threatened countermeasures to offset the effects of USA sanctions.

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In the short run, we can expect the European Union to negotiate with Iran to increase investment and support in order to keep Iran in the deal.

"It took a decade for the West to get the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action".

Getting significant multilateral buy-in for USA sanctions is key to effectively pressuring Iran, but could take a while, said Benham Taleblu, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "This approach could help the Iranian authorities to receive their oil-related revenues, particularly in case of US sanctions which could target European Union entities active in oil transactions with Iran".

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

Iran has been moving ahead to build nuclear weapons.

The demands include giving the International Atomic Energy Agency a full account of the country's former nuclear military programme, withdrawing its forces from Syria and ending what Pompeo described as Iran's "threatening behaviour" towards its neighbours.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also questioned the practicality of the tough conditions set by the United States for a new "jumbo" Iran deal.

Reacting to Pompeo's speech, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson committed to shielding European companies from renewed sanctions.

But, if Tehran meets Washington's demands, Pompeo offered an end to sanctions, a restoration of diplomatic relations between the two and allowing Iran to access to western technology that it's been denied.

Pompeo's comments were welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the demands amounted to "the only policy that could ultimately guarantee the security of the Middle East".