The Trump administration escalated its demands on Iran on Monday while giving Tehran a possible loophole if it wants the US to return to the nuclear deal which President Trump unilaterally cancelled last month, laying out a list of demands that Iran has to satisfy for the deal to be restored, including a stop to all uranium enrichment and halt to Iran's support for militant groups in the region.
The administration’s demands were outlined in a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which for the first time spelled out all of the administration’s requirements for a new agreement. Pompeo laid out an onerous list of 12 "basic requirements" on Iran which toughened the nuclear demands and called for a wholesale change to Iran’s military posture in the region, that he says should be included.
Among the demands listed by Pompeo was that Iran must "stop enrichment" of uranium and never pre-process plutonium. Iran must also allow nuclear "unqualified access to all sites throughout the country."
Pompeo also demanded 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.
Some of the requests were a bit more... bizarre:
Pompeo calls on Iran to rejoin the “League of Nations” (which existed from 1920-1946)— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) May 21, 2018
As the WSJ notes, the 12 asks mark a fundamental change from the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers that President Donald Trump abandoned earlier 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.
Still, while the secretary of state said that the administration wouldn’t try to renegotiate the old Iran deal. Instead, he did just that by outlining the 12 basic requirements for the new deal.
“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.”
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.
That said, it's unlikely Iran will comply: critics say that the new approach is nonnegotiable 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.
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.
Failing to reach an agreement on renegotiation, Pompeo threatened that the US would impose the "strongest sanctions in history" on Iran if the country failed to enter into a new nuclear deal on American terms.
Sec. of State Pompeo vows to hit Iran with “strongest sanctions in history” if its government does not change course. pic.twitter.com/y2k4q1BH7c— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 21, 2018
We are confident that China, Russia and Europe are just waiting for this to happen so they can provide Iran with all the goods and services the nation may need now that it has been blacklisted by the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.