Michael R. Gordon, The Wall Street Journal, 21 May 2018
Mike Pompeo calls on Iran to stop enriching all uranium, halt support for militant groups
WASHINGTON—The Trump administration escalated its demands on Iran, putting Tehran on notice that any new nuclear deal would require it to stop enriching all uranium and halt its support for militant groups in the region.
The administration’s demands were outlined in a speech on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which for the first time spelled out all of the administration’s requirements for a new agreement.
They mark a fundamental change from the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers that President Donald Trump abandoned this month but which European leaders have sought to preserve. That agreement allowed Iran to enrich uranium under detailed arrangements in return for sanctions relief.
In his speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, the secretary of state said the administration wouldn’t try to renegotiate the old Iran deal. Instead, he outlined 12 basic requirements for a new deal, which toughened the nuclear demands and call for a wholesale change to Iran’s military posture in the region.
What Is the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal?
Iran reached a historic agreement with major world powers over its nuclear program in 2015. Under the deal, what did Iran give up and how is it benefiting? WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains. (Originally Published October 13, 2017)
Among the demands, Mr. Pompeo said that Iran must withdraw all of its forces from Syria, end its support for militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, stop sending arms to the Houthi militia in Yemen, release all U.S. citizens, and cease its threats to destroy Israel.
“Relief from sanctions will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies,” Mr. Pompeo said in prepared remarks. “We acknowledge Iran’s right to defend its people. But not its actions which jeopardize the world’s citizens.”
Mr. Pompeo said the demands were needed because of the broad nature of what he called Iran’s malign behavior. The U.S., he said, didn’t create the need for the demands, Iran did.
Critics say the new approach is non-negotiable and won’t garner strong support in Moscow, Beijing or European capitals.
“It’s a pipe dream to believe the administration could achieve its wish-list of unrealistically ambitious negotiating objectives,” said Robert J. Einhorn, a former State Department official who was involved in Iran negotiations during the Obama administration.
Mr. Einhorn said the Trump administration’s new sanctions wouldn’t be as effective as the ones that the Obama administration was able to put in place with the support of U.S. allies and other nations.