U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave his first major foreign policy speech on Monday morning laying out many new demands that Iran must meet if they want to make a new nuclear deal with the United States.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” Pompeo said during his presentation at the Heritage Foundation. “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. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete.”
Pompeo’s major policy address came two weeks after President Trump announced he was withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal and that he would be reimposing sanctions that were eliminated as part of the deal.
The original deal, done while Barack Obama was president, included the United States, Iran, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Russia. It provided Iran billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions in exchange for agreeing to international monitoring of its nuclear program, and also agreeing not to pursue the production of nuclear weapons.
Pompeo addressed the objections of European allies who are unhappy with the United States reimposing sanctions on Iran, saying that not just the U.S. but other countries must also commit to changing Iran’s behavior, and this may involve paying the economic price.
“Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity,” the Secretary of State said. “Everyone’s going to have to participate in this. Every country’s going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for [Quds force commander] Qasem Soleimani.”
Concerning whether or not the U.S. would enter into a new agreement with Iran, Pompeo had this to say:
“As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing and able to negotiate a new deal, but the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people.”
Pompeo also made clear that he wants the Trump administration to get Congressional support for any future agreements with Tehran. The original Iran deal was not structured as a treaty so it didn’t need Congressional approval.
“We want our efforts to have broad support among the America people and endure beyond the Trump administration,” he said. “A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”
In his speech, which was sure not to make Iran happy, Pompeo laid out conditions for any future U.S. agreement, including:
- giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the full history and military dimensions of its nuclear program,
- stopping all enrichment including closing its heavy water reactor,
- giving the IAEA unqualified access to the country,
- ending proliferation of ballistic missiles,
- releasing all U.S. detainees and
- ending support for proxies around the Middle East.
This latest speech by Pompeo illustrates that the Trump Administration is now taking a hard line approach to agreements with hostile foreign countries.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.