The White House re-imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran August 7 to put the final nail in the coffin of the Obama nuclear deal, which had lifted previous sanctions in 2015 so long as Iran promised to dismantle most of its nuclear production sites. President Trump said that he still hopes to negotiate a new deal that more effectively addresses Iran’s ballistic missile program and its state-sponsored terrorism. The sanctions are designed to cut off the “lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos,” according to Trump.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not mince words when discussing the present attitude of the Iran regime. On August 5 Pompeo pitted the blame for inaction on Iran, saying “The President is trying to find a way to move forward, but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime.” He added, “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple. We think that most other countries, everyone with whom I spoke, understands that they [the Iranians] need to behave normally, and they understand that this is a country that threatens them.”
At a conference of Southeast Asian countries in Singapore, Pompeo called on other countries to support the US and told media that Trump is “determined” to stop the Iranians from being “bad actors.” “We’re happy to talk if there is an arrangement that is appropriate, that can lead to a good outcome,” he added. Until then, further sanctions are scheduled to be imposed in November on oil sales.
In defense of the President’s actions, a senior administration official said “The President has been very clear: none of this needs to happen,” according to The Hill. “He will meet with Iranian leadership at any time to discuss a real, comprehensive deal that will contain their regional ambitions, will end their malign behavior and deny them any paths to a nuclear weapon.” Meanwhile, Turkey has said it will continue to use a pipeline it has flowing into Iran; the EU is warning European countries not to comply; and China has joined the bandwagon, continuing its business with Iran. In the face of this opposition, Trump warned: “Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.”