Mon | Jun 25, 2018

US issues steep list of demands for nuclear treaty with Iran

Published:Monday | May 21, 2018 | 12:02 PM
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative public policy think tank, in Washington, Monday, May 21, 2018. Pompeo issued a steep list of demands Monday that he said should be included in a nuclear treaty with Iran to replace the Obama-era deal, threatening “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran doesn’t change course. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Monday issued a steep list of demands to be included in a nuclear treaty with Iran to replace the deal scuttled by President Donald Trump and threatened “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran doesn’t change course.

Drawing sharp contrasts with the 2015 deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a stronger pact should require that Iran stop enrichment of uranium, which was allowed within strict limitations under the previous deal. Iran would also have to walk away from core pillars of its foreign policy, including its involvement in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

This list may seem long to some, but it is simply a reflection of the massive scope of Iranian malign behaviour,” Pompeo said. “America did not create this need for changed behaviour. Iran did.”

Pompeo vowed that Trump’s approach would ensure “Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever.”

As he called for a better agreement to constrain Iran’s activities, he said the U.S. would “apply unprecedented financial pressure” to bring Tehran back to the table.

“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation in his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat.

At the same time, Pompeo offered Iran a series of dramatic potential U.S. concessions if it agrees to make “major changes.” Under a new agreement, the U.S. would be willing to lift all sanctions, restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, and even support the modernisation of its economy, Pompeo said.

“It is America’s hope that our labour's toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran,” Pompeo said.

Still, Pompeo’s list of 12 requirements included many that Iran is highly unlikely to consider.

He said Iran must allow nuclear inspectors “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country,” Pompeo said, alluding to military sites that were off-limits under the 2015 deal except under specific circumstances.

To that end, he also said Iran must declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon, reopening an issue that the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency has already deemed a closed matter.

Pompeo also demanded that Iran cease from a range of activities throughout the Middle East that have long drawn the ire of the U.S. and its allies.

He said Iran must end support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria, halt support for its ally Hezbollah and stop threatening Israel.

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