Yesterday new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation setting forth the Trump Administration’s policies on Iran in the wake of their withdrawal from the nuclear deal that had been negotiated by the Obama Administration.
Pompeo is considered a “hawk” when it comes to Iran policy and has always been a strong critic of the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In his speech he set forth a long list of what he called “painful” measures that he and Trump hope will hurt Tehran and serve as a deterrent to nuclear weapon development.
European Union Foreign Policy Minister Federica Mogherini had this to say about Pompeo’s major policy address:
“Secretary Pompeo’s speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA (nuclear deal) 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.”
“The JCPOA is the result of more than a decade of complex and delicate negotiations, based on dual track approach and therefore the best possible outcome, striking the right balance. This deal belongs to the international community, having been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The international community expects all sides to keep the commitments they made more than two years ago.”
“There is no alternative,” Mogherini added.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Pompeo’s criticisms of the Iran deal did not surprise him. “We do not see at this time a better alternative. We believe that without this agreement, we would take the risk that Iran resumes its nuclear program,” Mass said.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani immediately discounted the threats made by Pompeo on Monday, and said that the rest of the world doesn’t accept Washington making decisions for them. He said in a statement addressed to Pompeo:
“Who are you to decide for Iran and the world? The world today does not accept that the United States decides for the world. Countries have their independence. What Trump is doing is a move 15 years backwards to the era of Bush junior and a repeat of the same statements as 2003. The era of such statements has evolved and the Iranian people have heard these statements hundreds of times, and no longer pays attention. The world does not accept the logic by which a gentleman who was head of the spy service… decides for others.”
Trump and Pompeo of course want the European Union to go along with their demands, but this is not likely to happen, even if the U.S. imposes sanctions on European countries doing business with Iran as they have threatened to do. This may force countries to decide whether they want to do business with Iran or do business with the United States. Russia and China and most other countries have said they will honor the agreement and will abandon sanctions against Iran.
Once again Donald Trump has found himself at odds with the rest of the world, and it is not clear that his foreign policies will help the American people in any way.
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.