Pompeo vows U.S. and allies will 'crush' Iranian operatives globally

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The administration billed the speech, Pompeo's first policy address as secretary of state, as an articulation of Trump's new strategy toward Iran less than a month after he ignored the pleas of US allies and withdrew from the nuclear accord.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundation, on the topic of "After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy", in Washington, D.C., on May 21.

According to Qasemi, the problems in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Afghanistan are the outcome of the United States policies in the region.

Among the 12 points listed by Pompeo were the following: "Iran had to ease threatening behaviour against its neighbours, threats to destroy Israel, firing missiles into Saudi Arabia and the UAE; end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing; withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria". "America did not create this need for changed behavior".

Iran has spread its influence across parts of the Middle East where there are large communities of fellow Shia Muslims, from Iraq to Lebanon.

Iran quickly denounced Pompeo's remarks as a call for "regime change", and some USA experts questioned how realistic it was to make strident demands divorced from a broader diplomatic strategy.

Pompeo stopped short of calling directly for regime change, but he urged Iranians to think of Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as part of a corrupt, venal and unsafe regime.

The new USA demands are so intrusive and broad that Iran's rejection of them seemed all but certain even before Rouhani spoke.

Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the USA and other world powers offered sanctions relief in exchange for Iran giving up its nuclear capability. "Countries have their independence", he said in a statement published on Iran's ILNA.

Jannati is probably one of the most hardline ayatollahs in Iran; he heads not only the Assembly of Experts, charged with choosing and replacing the supreme leader, but also the Guardian Council, which is responsible for vetting candidates during the elections.

Following the speech, Minister Naftali Bennett said, "The bottom line of Pompeo's speech and the new policy toward Iran is that it can either invest in improving the lives of Iranians or invest in taking the lives of other people".

Russian Federation and China have also criticized the USA move and vowed to maintain trade with Iran.

Pompeo said the United States will monitor Tehran's regional activities, restrict its influence in the Middle East and ensure that it never acquires a nuclear weapon.

Iran must also "release all USA citizens" missing in Iran or being held on "spurious charges", he said.

In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described Pompeo's speech as unacceptable and took issue with the fact that the secretary of state previously led the Central Intelligence Agency, long demonized in Iran for its role in a 1953 coup.

He set out conditions for any new deal with Iran, including the withdrawal of its forces from Syria and an end to its support for rebels in Yemen. He's laying out the Trump administration's strategy for ramping up pressure on Iran in hopes of securing a better deal.

"Iran will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth in fights overseas".

"Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors, many of whom are USA allies". Former President Barack Obama did not seek a Senate-ratified treaty with Iran because of the dim prospects for getting approval from a Republican-run Congress.

It was a pointed response to Mr Pompeo, who issued a list of 12 demands addressing Iran's policies in the Middle East and its ballistic missile programme following the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Europeans allies had pleaded with Trump not to scuttle that deal and are now scrambling to keep the deal alive even without the U.S. 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".