Iran sanctions: Zarif condemns Pompeo announcement

Mike Pompeo Threatens to Impose the 'Strongest Sanctions in History' on Iran

European allies alarmed by Pompeo speech laying out US demands on Iran

The US, the statement went on, was "not entitled" to tell Iran what policies it should adopt in its own region, given that "all the problems facing the Middle East... emanate from the interference and encroachment of Washington and the medieval dictatorial governments of its allies".

Despite the United States, Iran has been bound to its worldwide obligations, the statement said. "America did not create this need for changed behavior".

Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard branch that carries out operations outside Iran's borders, was singled out by Pompeo as a top troublemaker in the Middle East.

Iran quickly denounced Pompeo's remarks as a call for "regime change", and some US experts questioned how realistic it was to make strident demands divorced from a broader diplomatic strategy.

This is the US "Plan B" for Iran - to step up the sanctions pressure, to force the Tehran government into a new diplomatic deal. He also demanded Iran end support for other militant groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The speech added to the tension between the two countries, which grew notably when Trump this month withdrew from the 2015 global agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. "The great people of Iran support him", Kowsari said. The company has sought a waiver from the Trump administration, but after Pompeo's speech, it seems unlikely.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers' summit in Argentina that the exit from the Iran nuclear deal would be a catastrophe.

Speaking to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Chief of the Iranian Judiciary's Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani criticized President Hassan Rouhani's remarks about the continuation of the JCPOA after Washington's move to leave the agreement.

Pompeo also demanded that Iran cease from a range of activities throughout the Middle East that have long drawn the ire of the US and its allies. The spokesperson for the group, Hossein Marashi, had said the USA president is eager to talk to Iran directly without the participation of the Europeans and that his offer should be considered seriously.

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Iran must also "release all US citizens" missing in Iran or being held on "spurious charges", he said. "Pompeo also threatened to "crush" Iran's terrorist proxies around the world".

The speech was a fresh example of the Trump administration's maximalist with-us-or-against-us strategy that's also playing out over North Korea's nuclear program. "At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership". Given the growth of the democratic opposition movement, the continued protests, and the very shaky foundation of the regime, it is wise for the Western world to stand on the side of the Iranian people as they are standing for their freedom. "If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today".

"Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors, many of whom are United States allies".

President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Europeans allies had pleaded with Trump not to scuttle that deal and are now scrambling to keep the deal alive even without the U.S.

"There is only one way to read it", said the former adviser to the State Department on Iran, "and that is that Trump administration has wedded itself to a regime-change strategy to Iran, one that is likely to alienate our allies".

Pompeo said he understood that Trump's decision "will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends".

Kayhan claimed that it would be foolish "to believe in any new deals while they are tearing up the old" and called the attempts by the European Union to salvage the deal "a new trick".

"Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity", Pompeo said.

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