‘Strongest sanctions on Iran in history!’ – US ultimatum

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‘NO ONE can force Iran to do this,’ Iran will stay in Syria as long as it wants, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Bahram Kasemi said responding angrily to a US ultimatum. Kasemi added that it is the US who must pull all of its forces out.

Issuing the ultimatum, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed yesterday that Iranian sanctions are going ‘back in full effect,’ and they will be the ‘strongest in history,’ he said. In his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA, he then called for regime change.

Speaking directly to the Iranian people, Pompeo claimed that ‘President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif . . . are your elected leaders. Are they not the most responsible for your economic struggles? ‘The United States believes you deserve better.’

He claimed that protests in Iran in recent months ‘show that the Iranian people are deeply frustrated.’ Pompeo claimed that, due to ‘government mismanagement of economic resources’, ‘People are angry at the regime that keeps for itself what it steals from the people.’

‘The leadership of the country is running scared,’ he claimed. Pompeo said: ‘Thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect and new ones are coming . . . These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history.’

Speaking weeks after the United States’ move to withdraw from a landmark nuclear agreement Iran signed with major powers in 2015, he laid out an ultimatum of 12 conditions for any ‘new deal’ with Tehran. He threatened that Iran will struggle to ‘keep its economy alive’ if it does not comply with the list of US demands. This included the withdrawal of all of its forces from Syria.

Pompeo’s list also demands that it ‘release all US citizens,’ end support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, stop ‘enrichment’ of uranium, and promise never to process plutonium. Iran must also allow ‘unqualified access to all nuclear sites throughout the country,’ Pompeo said.

The Secretary of State also pledged that the US ‘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.’

Pompeo added that the United States would hold those doing ‘prohibited business in Iran’ to account.

The US treasury has put EU businesses on notice that they have 90 days to wrap up their businesses with Iran before the renewed sanctions take place. Pompeo said that US businesses would suffer because of the sanctions and that the businesses of the US’ allies would also suffer but that this was the only way that Iran will be stopped from becoming a nuclear power.

Bahram Kasemi representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran responded: ‘No one can force Iran to do this. As long as there is terrorism and the government of Syria wants it, Iran will have a presence in Syria. Those who entered the country without the permission of the Syrian authorities must leave.’