Pentagon Spokesman Says US Will Take Necessary Steps Against Iran's 'Malicious Activities'

Ruben Ruiz
May 23, 2018

Iran's Foreign Ministry has rejected the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's threatening remarks as "absurd and interventionist".

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

"Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?"

Justifiably angered, the Europeans are discussing ways around the American sanctions, further eroding the trans-Atlantic alliance and perhaps hastening the day when they have a financial system far less entwined with the United States'. "We will continue our path with the support of our nation", the Iranian Labour News Agency quoted Hassan Rouhani as saying.

Under a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, worshippers chant slogans in a pro-Palestinian rally in Tehran.

Getting significant multilateral buy-in for US 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.

And the EU's foreign policy chief said there was "no alternative" to the Iran nuclear deal.

"They might have to choose between doing business with Iran or the United States", West said.

"Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East", Pompeo said, outlining 12 tough conditions from Washington for any "new deal" with Tehran.

Pompeo called on Iran to halt a host of its activities in the Middle East that Washington has taken umbrage with, including its military support for the Syrian regime, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Yemen's Houthi rebels.

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Total SA, the French oil and gas giant, is already considering withdrawing from a multi-billion-dollar gas project in Iran because of U.S. sanctions. "Who are you to make the decision for Iran and the world?" "It will not have the resources to do both", Pompeo said.

The current Iranian regime is unlikely to accede, which means that pressure from sanctions will keep mounting, which in turn may lead to street protests and wider unrest. "With friends like that, who needs enemies", European Council President Donald Tusk groused recently. Last week, the French energy company Total said it would be forced to end a multi-billion dollar project in Iran unless it receives a sanctions waiver by November.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed between six countries in 2015 - Iran, US, Britain, Germany, Russia, France and China for lifting economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limitations to the country's nuclear programme.

This new list of demands and Washington's increasingly hostile rhetoric will undoubtedly result in another escalation of attacks against Rouhani. "The Iranian wave of destruction in the region in just the last few years is proof that Iran's nuclear aspirations can not be separated from the overall security picture", he added. But on Monday, he warned that once restrictions in the deal expire, Iran "would be free for a quick sprint to the bomb - setting off a potentially catastrophic arms race in the region".

Limiting Iran's missile capabilities was one of Pompeo's main demands. Currently, inspectors must outline the basis for their suspicions.

If Iran does not change course, the U.S.

"Secretary Pompeo's speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA 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", Mogherini stressed.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is interviewed by The Associated Press in New York, April 24, 2018.

"We are waiting for the Europeans to deliver us their economic package as they already promised", he said.

Maas said he will travel to Washington to talk with Pompeo this week.

Other reports by GizPress

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