Iranian official: Iranians will punch US Secretary of State in mouth

Posted May 22, 2018

An escalation of Iranian belligerence will undercut Saudi Arabia's security, because Yemen is likely to be the first area where Iran will flex its military muscles.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "But you should know that we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account".

Remarkably, Pompeo made no concessions to European leaders who want to salvage the nuclear deal and continue relations with Iran. And there's little sign they want to go along.

"It is America's hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran", Pompeo said. "It's shocking how they would move forward with a policy announcement that really has no clothes".

Russian Federation and China have also criticised the U.S. move and vowed to maintain trade with Iran. Along with the US, others in the deal included France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Qassem Soleimani, the head of the branch of the Revolutionary Guards that carries out operations outside Iran's borders, was singled out by Pompeo as a top troublemaker in the Middle East. "We've never tried to erect this sort of sanctions regime amid a really sharp strategic divergence with our closest allies". Iran must also allow nuclear "unqualified access to all sites throughout the country". Funding of Hezbollah and Hamas must end.

Well before Pompeo spoke, European leaders suggested that the USA approach won't work.

"They know where we stand", said Pompeo in his first major foreign policy speech since moving to the State Department from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Kowsari said that the Iranian people back Soleimani.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at Palacio San Martin during the G20 foreign ministers' meeting on May 21, 2018, in Buenos Aires.

Germany also expressed its resolve to uphold the accord in the face of the US withdrawal. "The Europeans are on the right track and it's worth every drop of sweat to maintain the agreement".

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. President Hassan Rouhani said the secretary of state's ideas were "in no way acceptable".

"This will only lead to one thing: confrontation", he said.

Rouhani scoffed at the demands from Pompeo, a former congressman who was previously Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director. "Wealth created by the West has fueled his campaigns", he said.

The differences between the two are significant.

As tough USA sanctions kick in later this year, the global economy will have to brace itself for more instability and shock. Even then, analysts argue that Kim's gentler tone was the result of internal considerations and not wholly dependent on US action.

In the end, most countries, including European countries, will have no choice but to reduce exposure to Iran, but the Trump administration will have only grudging, reluctant participation.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araghchi who was one of the key negotiators in the nuclear talks with the world powers has told Spanish El Pais that the United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal will lead to its isolation in the global arena, adding that if they try to link JCPOA to other issues, they will lose the agreement and make it more complicated to resolve the rest of the issues.

Warning that the "sting of sanctions" will not ease until Iran changes its course, Pompeo made it clear that the new sanctions will be the "strongest in history" and will make Tehran battle to "keep its economy alive". A longtime Iran hawk, Pompeo has spoken positively about regime change in the past, but in his confirmation hearing last month he sought to soften that stance. Afterward, he was asked what the US time line would be for its new strategy.

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

"This list may seem long to some, but it is simply a reflection of the massive scope of Iranian malign behavior", Pompeo said.

For those who were arguing that @SecPompeo has changed and is now tying to give diplomacy a chance: he is as much as a regime changer as Bolton. "It's a list that designed for Iran to reject".