Led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the United States issued a strong statement to Iran, stating that the US will “crush” the Middle Eastern country with economic sanctions and military pressure if the country does not modify its behavior and work to improve relations in the Middle East.
The ultimatum comes just weeks after President Donald Trump made the executive decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a decision criticized by many global political powers. Pompeo unveiled the White House’s new policy on Iran during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a public policy think tank charged with building conservative ideals. Pompeo used the platform to reveal that the US will continue to counter Tehran’s actions, ensuring that the country does not gain access to nuclear capabilities and have the opportunity to dominate the conflicted region. The stirring speech promised to go after Iran operatives and their Hezbollah counterparts in a promise to combat illegal cyber activity and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Tehran.
Pompeo did concede that Iran could initiate positive behavior and be rewarded with an end to the US sanctions, opening the door to business opportunities between the two countries. The US is also willing to use their power to impose sanctions on their allies if they do not comply with US policy in relation to Iran. Pompeo recognized that the new sanctions will likely cause negative repercussions for US allies but that the Trump administration will continue to hold those engaging in prohibited business relations with Tehran accountable for their actions. Like his boss, Pompeo did not shy away from criticizing the Obama administration for pursuing the former nuclear deal, criticizing the pact for the blind trust in Iran to adhere to the regulations. The Iran pact had been a much-criticized policy of the Obama administration used as a talking point throughout Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign.