Netanyahu thanks U.S. for new Iran policy outlined by Pompeo


The US will aim to "crush" Iran with economic and military pressure unless it changes its behavior in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday in a speech that many analysts saw as a policy of regime change in everything but name.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused countries with nuclear weapons of "threatening the world", and criticized the United States's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Pompeo says the United States "will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime".

The new US demands are so intrusive and broad that Iran's rejection of them seemed all but certain even before Rouhani spoke.

"This list may seem long to some, but it is simply a reflection of the massive scope of Iranian malign behavior", Pompeo said. "But the formula Team Trump is using will weaken America's hand on the nuclear issue and also will likely put us in a less advantageous position to deal with Iran's destabilizing policies in the region and its support for terrorism".

President Donald Trump has long said the 2015 deal with Iran - also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - did not go far enough, and now wants the Europeans and others to support his hardline strategy.

European powers want to keep the Iran deal alive without the United States, Maas said earlier this month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated as much with 100,000 hidden Iranian documents that Israel found. Critics yawn, but some of those showed Iranian determination to roll ahead with its weaponizing ambition, if at a slower pace.

He said: "At the end of the day the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership".

In a speech in Washington, America's top diplomat said Iran would be "battling to keep its economy alive" after the sanctions took effect. These are: that America can live with Iranian regional aggression in exchange for temporary limits on its nuclear program; that the 2015 nuclear bargain expressed the will of the global community; and that Iran's current elected leadership can moderate the country over time. "These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete".

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. "Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East". Pompeo essentially demanded Iran's total submission without offering anything in return aside from the hazy prospect of sanctions relief at some future date.

Pompeo said if Iran made major changes, the USA was prepared to ease sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations and support the country's re-integration into the global economic system. "Iran hid the archives, lied about it [and] moved it from place to place, because they are seeking nuclear weapons".

Iran would probably rely mostly on its two biggest buyers, China and India, to boost its production closer to this target, but it would also need the help of the European Union, which is also a big buyer of Iranian crude.

Jean Claude Juncker, the commission's president, said it has a "duty to protect European companies" from Washington's punitive fiscal measures. The secretary appealed to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a hard-liner, to "summon the courage to do something historically beneficial" for his people. Other analysts said the remarks amounted to a push for new leadership in Tehran and a return to traditional United States policy that could carry risks for the Trump administration.

The US list also required Iran to cease backing Lebanon's Hezbollah, Gaza's Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.