One Year After Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal, Pompeo Hails US-Led Drive Against Tehran Regime
The first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was marked this week with blistering rhetoric against the Tehran regime from the State Department, as well as new legislation before the Senate that would crack down on Iranian destabilization efforts in the Middle East.
In a statement on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s May 8, 2018 decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the technical name for the agreement reached in July 2015 between Iran and the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany — signaled “a bold new strategy to end Iran’s destabilizing IIran behavior and prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Said Pompeo: “One year later, President Trump has made good on his promise to counter Iran in a comprehensive campaign of maximum pressure.”
Detailing measures taken against the Islamic Republic’s rulers, Pompeo highlighted “the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime, designating nearly 1,000 individuals and entities in the past year.”
He continued by observing that the Trump administration had “taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and stopped issuing Significant Reduction Exceptions to importers of Iranian oil, effectively zeroing out purchases of Iranian crude.”
Added Pompeo: “In May, the United States tightened restrictions that impede Iran’s ability to reconstitute its past nuclear weapons program and prevent Iran from shortening the time it would take to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon.”
The secretary of state stressed that the US economic and diplomatic offensive against Iran was far from being a unilateral policy.
“America is not countering Iran alone,” Pompeo declared. “Since our withdrawal from the [JCPOA], our allies and partners have stepped up to counter Iranian aggression with us.”
Pompeo said the US had “acted with countries from nearly every continent to disrupt Iran’s illicit oil shipping operations. The European Union passed new sanctions against Iranian entities in response to two foiled terror plots last year. Other nations have responded to Iran’s malign activity by recalling ambassadors, expelling Iranian diplomats, eliminating visa-free travel, or denying landing rights to [state-run airline] Mahan Air.”
In the US Senate, meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers led by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced legislation that would make any lifting of sanctions upon Iran conditional on an end to its “nuclear program, ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, and other destabilizing activities.”
The resolution recalled the several conditions set by the State Department for any engagement with Iran, including an end to “support for terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” and the release from Iranian jails of “all United States citizens currently held hostage, as well as citizens of United States partners and allies.”