USA demands wholesale changes in Iran policies


According to Qasemi, the problems in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Afghanistan are the outcome of the USA policies in the region. He said the United States would take "all necessary steps" to contain Iran, but declined to provide specifics. "America did not create this need for changed behavior".

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday he will travel to Washington to meet with Pompeo to discuss Washington's stance on the worldwide nuclear deal with Iran.

"These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done", said Pompeo.

The Europeans have pledged to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) together with Iran but fallen short of giving Tehran concrete guarantees that trade would remain intact.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani dismissed threats made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, saying the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf.

Limiting Iran's missile capabilities was one of Pompeo's main demands, as the Iranian military has carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in recent years.

The conundrum for Trump and Pompeo: After fracturing alliances and disregarding diplomacy in favour of quick action, the White House won't be able to put that sanctions regime fully in place, or curtail Iran's regional role, without participation of the five other nations that forged the deal with Iran.

Pompeo urged Tehran to report to the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear program, end proliferation of its missiles, and stop supporting "terrorist groups" in the Middle East. "If they choose their commercial interest is to trade with USA and not to seek new contract with Iran, that's for them".

There is no defending Iran's support for Bashar al-Assad, the bloody dictator in Syria, or its use of Hezbollah militants to control Lebanon and threaten Israel. "Also, we want to see freedom of speech, freedom of thought and social and cultural freedoms for the Iranian people", he said.

"Trump's administration will eventually have to come to terms with the reality that Iran. must be spoken to with the language of courtesy and logic and not with the language of threats", he wrote on Twitter.

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Critics may charge that this "policy" is impossible - a diplomatic smokescreen meant to cloak a policy whose fundamental goal is regime change in Iran.

Laying out Trump's new approach Monday, Pompeo said he couldn't put a timeline on how long the strategy might take.

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

Asked how the German government could assist German firms feeling nervous in the wake of the USA decision, Peter Altmaier told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper that Berlin would help them assess the situation and developments while also urging the grant exemptions and deadline extensions.

In his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Pompeo said he saw no evidence that Iran was seeking to build a nuclear bomb given the constraints of the 2015 arms control deal. He said the prospect for a new deal "is going to be very, very hard".

Germany's economy minister earlier told a newspaper the Berlin government would help German firms with business in Iran where it could, but could not entirely shield them from the US decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions. She also explained that Europeans are still unsure of the US rationale for leaving the deal. Now the Trump administration is essentially trying to start back at square one.

Pompeo said he understood that Trump's decision "will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends".

Still, diplomats acknowledge that European companies may decide to stop doing business in Iran on their own accord, regardless of reassurances by the European Union to shield them from sanctions.

"I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran".

"We want to hear your concerns", Pompeo said. "They know where we stand".

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