Pompeo says sanctions a pillar of US policy toward Iran
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.
Speaking to reporters en route from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Pompeo said Monday’s re-imposition of some sanctions is an important pillar in U.S. policy toward Iran. He said the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but that would “require enormous change” from Tehran.
“We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”
European foreign ministers said Monday they “deeply regret” the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.
A statement by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom insisted that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear program.
The ministers said the Iran deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world.”
A senior administration official said the United States is “not particularly concerned” by EU efforts to protect European firms from the re-imposition of sanctions.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.
The European Union issued a “blocking statute” Monday to protect European businesses from the sanctions set to snap back Monday at midnight.
The official says the U.S. will use the sanctions aggressively and cited Iran’s severe economic downturn this year as evidence the sanctions would prove to be effective despite opposition from the EU, China and Russia.
Pompeo called the Iranian leadership “bad actors” and said President Donald Trump is intent on getting them to “behave like a normal country.”