USA will crush Iran through sanctions: Pompeo

Mike Pompeo Threatens to Impose the 'Strongest Sanctions in History' on Iran

European allies alarmed by Pompeo speech laying out US demands on Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey May 18, 2018.

"Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?" the Iranian president was quoted as saying.

He repeatedly called Iran the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, saying it antagonizes neighbors, represses its own people and imperils peace worldwide.

Mike Pompeo did not say what new measures the USA was contemplating but he described sanctions imposed on head of Iran's central bank as "just the beginning".

Iran also agreed to modify a heavy water facility so it could not produce plutonium suitable for a bomb.

Getting significant multilateral buy-in for USA sanctions is key to effectively pressuring Iran, but could take a while, said Benham Taleblu, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

However, the government can not entirely protect businesses from the consequences of US President Donald Trump's decision to leave the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he added.

The Treasury Department already has reimposed sanctions on the head of Iran's Central Bank and other companies and groups. 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.

"Iran will have to make a choice between its keeping its economy on precious life support at home of squandering pressure resources on continuing terror. It will not have the resources to do both".

Rouhani said in a statement published by Iranian state media on Monday. "With friends like that, who needs enemies", European Council President Donald Tusk groused recently.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on'After the Deal- A New Iran Strategy, at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Michael Reynolds  EPA

He also made it clear that the Trump administration was ready to part ways with allies and even use sanctions against them if necessary.

"The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them", Ismail Kowsari, a senior commander with Iran's Revolutionary Guards said, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that to meet USA demands, Iran would have to transform itself into another country altogether and acknowledge a secondary status in the Middle East hierarchy. But they made concessions along the way on issues they considered less important than the goal of setting future limits on Iran's nuclear deal and getting global inspectors to monitor it. Critics said this is likely to lead to a more hard-line administration. The democratic nations of the world have an obligation to safeguard their lives right now, regardless of the status of the nuclear deal. Iran has denied ever wanting to build nuclear arms.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking to reporters in Argentina, said he believed packaging all of Iran's concerning behavior into one agreement would be a heavy lift.

On May 18, the European Commission proposed to let EU members make payments for oil directly to the Iranian Central Bank to bypass USA sanctions. Currently, inspectors must outline the basis for their suspicions.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also criticised the US. But acknowledge that they can not force big companies to change their own economic calculation.

Other European initiatives include allowing the European Investment Bank to lend to EU projects in Iran and of more significance given the American stranglehold on using the U.S. dollar, to urge EU governments to explore "one-off" transfers to Iran's central bank to help authorities to receive their oil-related revenues.

Javad Zarif said America was "regressing to old habits". Nearly all big companies which made deals with Iran are withdrawing quickly despite the possible losses they may suffer.

Whatever Trump may eventually decide to do, he should not claim to do it in the name of "the long-suffering people of Iran".

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