Foreign Policy

Pompeo Announces New Hardline Against Iran

The secretary of state's warning message for Iran is ultimately aimed at Europe.

Thomas Gallatin · May 22, 2018

Speaking at The Heritage Foundation on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a clear, no-nonsense ultimatum to Iran’s leaders: They should end their nuclear weapons and missile programs and stop funding and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East and across the globe or “the strongest sanctions in history” will be leveled against them.

In beginning his speech, Pompeo explained President Donald Trump’s rationale for pulling out of Barack Obama’s bogus “nuke deal,” officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Pompeo stated succinctly, “President Trump withdrew from the deal for a simple reason: It failed to guarantee the safety of the American people from the risk created by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. No more. No more wealth creation for Iranian kleptocrats. No more acceptance of missiles landing in Riyadh and in the Golan Heights. No more cost-free expansions of Iranian power. No more.”

The secretary of state then highlighted the main flaw with the JCPOA, saying, “Strategically, the Obama administration made a bet that the deal would spur Iran to stop its rogue-state actions and conform to international norms.” But, he added, “That bet was a loser with massive repercussions for all people living in the Middle East.” Pompeo noted that the JCPOA “merely delayed the inevitable nuclear weapons capability of the Iranian regime.”

Pompeo then shifted focus and laid out the new direction the U.S. would take with Iran, declaring, “We will continue to work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran’s proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapons that threaten peace and stability.” He continued, “We will also ensure Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon — ever.” He listed 12 demands that Iran must meet in order to see the sanctions lifted.

Although directed at the Iranian regime, the speech was also intended for European leaders who opposed Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA. And the message to Europe is clear: Get on board with the new plan or feel the economic squeeze yourself. Trump is determined to reverse Obama’s appeasement doctrine and bring America back to its role as leader of the free world, with the aim of promoting substantive and long-term change that comports with the interests of the U.S. and our allies. Similar to his economic squeezing of China in order to get it to pull the reins on North Korea, Trump is now squeezing Europe with the aim of getting full cooperation in raising stifling economic sanctions against Iranian regime. The ultimate goal may be seeding regime change in Iran. Pompeo has just issued the call. Time to see how quickly Europe’s leaders get on board.

Answering objections from the Left regarding Pompeo’s tone, Mark Alexander notes: “Despite the fact the Leftmedia treats policy in the region like it is a checkers game, it is a very sophisticated chess match. From my perspective, Trump and his team are the best foreign policy chess players since the Reagan administration, and it appears to me that virtually every move in the Middle East is, strategically, aimed directly, not tangentially, at Russia. As for claims that this makes war between Iran and Israel inevitable, while we would prefer all wars be preventable, some are inevitable. As for the latter, the abject strategic negligence in this region over to Obama terms, has fused any additional warfare that ignites in the region.”

(Edited.)

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