Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

From left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif walk, during a meeting of the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany with the Iran Foreign Minister and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (AP/Olivier Matthys, Pool)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

  • Iran has described the new US sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before

LONDON: Iran said on Wednesday that new sanctions imposed on it by Washington were an attempt to derail efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal by its remaining signatories following the US withdrawal from the accord.
The US Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor, three other individuals and an Iraq-based bank, a week after US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal Iran signed with world powers to curb its nuclear program.
Iran has described the sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before.
“With such destructive measures, the American government is trying to influence the will and decision of the remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear agreement),” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
British, French and German foreign ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday to see how they can save the nuclear deal without the United States, but appeared hard-pressed over how their companies could continue doing business with Iran once Washington begins to reimpose sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the meeting had been a good start, but he wanted to see guarantees materialize.
The Europeans and Iranians have now tasked experts to come up with measures quickly and will meet again in Vienna next week.


Iran faces ‘strongest sanctions in history’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Iran faces ‘strongest sanctions in history’

  • US Secretary of State laid out Trump administration’s strategy for constraining Iran’s nuclear program
  • US threatens "strongest sanctions in history" if Iranian government does not change course

WASHINGTON: The US told Iran on Monday to drop its nuclear ambitions and pull out of the Syrian civil war in a list of demands that marked a new hard-line against Tehran and prompted an Iranian official to warn that Washington seeks regime change.

Weeks after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, his administration threatened to impose “the strongest sanctions in history,” setting Washington and Tehran on a deeper course of confrontation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded sweeping changes that would force Iran effectively to reverse years of its foreign policies.

“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.

“These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done,” he added.

Pompeo took aim at Iran’s policy of expanding its influence in the Middle East through support for proxy armed groups in countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

He warned that the US would “crush” Iranian operatives and allies abroad and told Tehran to pull out forces under its command from the Syrian civil war where they back President Bashar Assad.

Iran is unlikely to accede to the US demands. Tension between the two countries has grown notably since Trump this month withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Pompeo warned that if Iran fully resumed its nuclear program Washington would be ready to respond and said the administration would hold companies doing prohibited business in Iran to account.

“Our demands on Iran are not unreasonable: Give up your program,” Pompeo said, “Should they choose to go back, should they begin to enrich, we are fully prepared to respond to that as well,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Pompeo said if Iran made major changes, the US was prepared to ease sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations and support the country’s re-integration into the international economic system.

The speech did not explicitly call for regime change but Pompeo repeatedly urged the Iranian people not to put up with their leaders, specifically naming President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“At the end of the day the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful, if they choose not to do so we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes I set forward,” said Pompeo.