'We will confront Iran' US threatens Iran in nuclear deal row

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem

"Relief from our efforts will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran's policies", Pompeo said during the speech delivered at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

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

China and India, as well as the European Union, have clearly indicated they had no intention of changing their buying habits regarding Iranian crude, with the European Union specifically signaling it would make an effort to uphold the Iran nuclear deal and shield companies doing business in the country from USA sanctions.

"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 foreign policy speech since becoming secretary of state.

"I think in the end, we will get back to the kind of additions to the JCPOA that we initially envisaged - but it may take a long time", Johnson said on Monday ahead of a G20 foreign ministers summit in Argentina, at which discussions about the nuclear deal are expected to take place.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said the military was weighing "new actions" to counter Iran's influence in the Middle East, but he stressed this was part of a "whole of government" approach and offered no details.

"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime".

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. "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. "Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions", Zarif said in a tweet on Monday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundati
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundati

"Pompeo also threatened to "crush" Iran's terrorist proxies around the world".

Other demands the Iranians are unlikely to go along with include stopping uranium enrichment and ballistic missile tests, and allowing worldwide inspectors access to all sites, including military locations where critics suspect clandestine research. "Are these two not responsible for wasting Iranian lives throughout the Middle East?" "The Iranian regime should know this is just the beginning".

In a speech in Washington, America's top diplomat said Iran would be "battling to keep its economy alive" after the sanctions took effect.

A staunch opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu again showered US President Donald Trump with praise for pulling out of the deal on May 8.

"If they restart their nuclear program, they will have big problems, bigger problems than they've ever had before", he said. Netanyahu said that the fact that Iran did not destroy the archives - as South Africa and Libya did when they stopped their nuclear programs - was a clear sign of Tehran's intentions.

Asked how the USA will work with European nations to ease the impact of sanctions on their companies, Pompeo gave no ground.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments enshrined in the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), fully.

The Secretary of State also warned European businesses which work with Iran in violation of USA sanctions that they will be held "to account". The administration will then need to contemplate whether it is really willing to declare economic warfare on our own allies to force them out of a deal which, for now, Iran is in compliance with.

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