Mike Pompeo Promises 'Strongest Sanctions In History' On Iran

Damir Mujezinovic

Following the recent announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised "unprecedented" sanctions on Iran, The Hill reports.

"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime," Pompeo said, adding that the sanctions will be "painful" and "the strongest in history."

"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete."

According to Politifact, Trump had promised to "renegotiate" the Iran deal, but initially remained fairly quiet on the matter. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals regarding Iran, going back and forth between promising negotiations and threatening to pull out of the deal entirely. In a statement at the White House on May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the deal.

The European Union, on the other hand, has repeatedly expressed support for the deal, vowing to protect it. Scrambling to save the deal, European leaders are facing pressure from Tehran which has, according to CNBC, called the European Union's support for the deal "insufficient."

Some European corporations, like the French automotive manufacturer Peugeot, have, in fact, suggested withdrawing from the deal, citing concerns about obtaining U.S. sanctions waivers. Tehran has, CNBC noted, refused to back down, asking the European Union to consider bypassing the American financial system. Iran asked the EU to buy Iranian oil in euros and make transactions through the country's central bank in order to achieve this.

In an effort to save the deal, the EU will, The Hill noted, invoke the so-called blocking statute, meant to protect European companies doing business with Iran from American sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged the European Union's concerns, but said that European countries still have to "give up economic activity."

"Everyone's going to have to participate in this. Every country's going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for [Quds Force Commander] Qasem Soleimani," Pompeo said.

According to Pompeo, President Trump is willing to negotiate a new deal, but that is not the primary objective. The primary objective of the administration is, according to Secretary of State, "to protect the American people."

Donald Trump's administration will seek congressional support and its goal is that their efforts endure "beyond the Trump administration."

The Trump administration will have a team of specialists traveling the world, explaining the administration's policy to American allies which, Pompeo said, will eventually get on board with Donald Trump's plan.

"We focus on the Europeans, but there are scores of countries around the world who share our concerns and are equally threatened by the Iranian regime. It's that shared interest that's the value set which will ultimately drive, I believe, the global response to this, to the world's largest state sponsor of terror. I'm convinced it can take place," Pompeo concluded.