The United States is demanding Iran make sweeping changes — from dropping its nuclear program to pulling out of the Syrian civil war — or face severe economic sanctions as the Trump administration hardened its approach to Tehran.
Iran dismissed Washington’s ultimatum and one senior Iranian official said it showed the United States is seeking “regime change” in Iran.
On Monday (Tuesday AEST), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded changes that would force Iran effectively to reverse the recent spread of its military and political influence through the Middle East to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
“What has the Iranian revolution given to the Iranian people?” Mr. Pompeo asked, and then responded: “The hard grip of repression is all that millions of Iranians have ever known.”
The speech added to the tension between the two countries, which grew notably when Trump this month withdrew from the 2015 international agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. If Washington sees tangible shifts in Iran’s policies, it is prepared to lift sanctions, Pompeo said.
“The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran,” Pompeo said in his first major speech since becoming secretary of state.