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US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, offers a press conference in Washington, United States, on May 21, 2018. Pompeo said that his government will not give "carte blanche" to Iran in the Middle East and will impose "the strongest sanctions in history" to force him to "change his behavior". EFE / Michael Reynolds
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, offers a press conference in Washington, United States, on May 21, 2018. Pompeo said that his government will not give "carte blanche" to Iran in the Middle East and will impose "the strongest sanctions in history" to…

Washington threatens Tehran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks on Monday mark a new tone in US threats against Iran.

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"Iran will have to battle to keep its economy alive," was the threat of the main US diplomat against the Iranian government on Monday.

Following the line proposed by President Trump when withdrawing the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Pompeo assured new economic sanctions would be imposed on the country and that they would be "painful if the regime does not change its course".

"These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete," he said.

Within the list of concessions that the US government expects from Tehran, are: a new pact, the withdrawal of Iran from Syria and Yemen, the suspension of uranium enrichment, admit the true scope of its former nuclear program, the release of US and allies hostages, and the suspension of the development of nuclear missiles, as reported by the Financial Times.

"If Iran were willing to accept the US’s terms," the media continues, "Mr. Pompeo said Washington would be willing to end sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations, allow Iran access to advanced technology and support the modernization and re-integration of Iran in the international economic system."

65 years of American interventionism

After the United States allowed the intervention of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 - and the support in the Sha Mohammed Reza Pahlevi campaign - the return of Muslim religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini gave rise to the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The hostage crisis between 1979 and 1981 increased the tension between the two countries and finally exploded with the revelation of US military maneuvers called "Iran-Contra scandal".

A diplomatic setback

With the arrival of Mohammad Khatami to the government in 1997, Iran began "a dialogue with the American people," according to the BBC, although the achievements were not many.

But with George Bush's new administration, any attempt at an agreement with Iran became impossible, especially after his speech describing Iran, Iraq and North Korea as "the axis of evil."

In the face of US-backed isolationism, Iran decides to unleash its nuclear program, despite denying it publicly.

The imposition of sanctions by the United Nations and the international community between 2006 and 2010 plunged the country in a deep economic and political crisis, only fueled by the radicalism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Reaching an agreement

The famous telephone call between US President Barack Obama and the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, allowed to start the negotiation of a nuclear agreement in 2015 between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, finally called Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) that allowed the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for the suspension of its nuclear program.

But on May 7, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement, after having criticized Iran's real cooperation and the initial proposal of the agreement.

New sanctions, new repercussions

Pompeo’s announcement was met with arduous criticism, not only by the Iranian government but also by experts in international politics.

"Who do you think you are to make decisions for Iran and the world?" Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, according to the national news agency.

The country's foreign minister responded aggressively by saying that "the Islamic Republic of Iran regards the rude comments of the US secretary of state as blatant interference in its domestic affairs and as an illegitimate threat against a member state of the United Nations, and deserves the right to take legitimate actions," continues the Times.

Also, analysts like Barbara Slavin (Iranian expert in the Atlantic Council) and Suzanne Maloney (specialist in the Brookings Institution), consider that the American demands are "unrealistic" and "unachievable", and that they can only be interpreted as a "call for regime change in Iran."

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