US talks tough, to impose 'strongest sanctions in history' on Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

"The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran", Pompeo said in his first major speech since becoming secretary of state.

"Europe wants to find a way to work with us, and if you give them a little bit of opening they'll take it, but there's no opening here", said Jarrett Blanc, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former State Department coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation.

Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US and other world powers offered sanctions relief in exchange for Iran giving up its nuclear capability. Russia, China and India are unlikely to bow to USA pressure.

The Iranian ILNA news site also carried a statement on Monday from the foreign ministry in Tehran, which said Pompeo's remarks revealed the "poor intelligence, weak oversight, analytical backwardness and confusion in decision-making processes in the United States".

At the same time, he noted he is "not totally pessimistic about the situation". "Countries have their independence", he added. He said the prospect for a new deal "is going to be very, very hard".

Whether the Europeans will take heed, only time will tell. Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union, explained that Europeans will remain committed to "full and effective implementation" of the JCPOA so long as Iran upholds its commitments. Along with the USA, others in the deal included France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also denounced Pompeo's demands as "lies" aimed at diverting attention from Washington's violation of an worldwide nuclear deal, state TV reported. "But you should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account". 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.

Pompeo gave no ground to European countries and companies to ease the impact of sanctions. He said on Monday that economic pressure on Iran needs to impact a wide array of actors in order to be effective. "That is their decision to make", Pompeo said. There's a huge market there.

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Schalke had already wrapped up second place, but it was between Dortmund, Leverkusen and Hoffenheim for the remaining two spots. The day started disastrously for Hamburg, as Joshua Guilavogui fired Wolfsburg ahead in the opening minute against Cologne.

Following the speech, Minister Naftali Bennett said, "The bottom line of Pompeo's speech and the new policy toward Iran is that it can either invest in improving the lives of Iranians or invest in taking the lives of other people".

But Trump despised the deal, pointing to other aspects of Iranian behaviour not covered in the pact, and on May 8 he pulled America out despite intense diplomatic lobbying by European allies who had beseeched him to stick with it by adding tougher new elements. "It will not have the resources to do both".

The older American sanctions prohibited nearly all trade with Iran, making some exceptions only for activity "intended to benefit the Iranian people" such as the export of medical and agricultural equipment.

"It is not necessarily effective because companies make their own decisions", explained a European diplomat.

Russian Federation and China have also criticized the USA move and vowed to maintain trade with Iran.

Still, many question how effective USA sanctions will actually be. The leading opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has consistently insisted that neutralizing the threat of the Iranian nuclear program would require the change of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people.

"There is no assurance on how this is going to be amazingly effective". If Rouhani is removed from office, he would most likely be replaced by a hardliner, a military figure perhaps from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who would only increase the country's hostility towards the USA and its allies.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched a personal attack on Mike Pompeo, questioning his credibility as a former Central Intelligence Agency chief to make decisions for Iran and the world.

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