Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that new and severe economic sanctions will be imposed on the Iranian regime until it makes a fundamental strategic decision to end its support for terrorism; its aggression in the Middle East; its proliferation of ballistic missiles; its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, and other malign behaviors.
But in outlining the United States’ new strategy for Iran after the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Secretary Pompeo drew a sharp distinction between the regime and the Iranian people.
He deplored the fact that flush with cash and economic relief from the deal, the regime for three years did nothing to relieve the economic hardships of ordinary Iranians; instead it spent vast sums to fuel its march of destruction across the region.
Secretary Pompeo promised that the United States will be a tireless advocate for the greatest and longest suffering of the regime’s victims -- the Iranian people themselves.
“The regime must improve how it treats its citizens. It must protect the human rights of every Iranian. It must cease wasting Iran’s wealth abroad. We ask that our international partners continue to add their voice to ours in condemning Iran’s treatment of its own citizens.”
Secretary Pompeo noted that the protests that have occurred in Iran over the past several months show the people are deeply frustrated with their own government’s failures:
”The Iranian people, especially its youth, are increasingly eager for economic, political and social change. The United States stands with those longing for a country of economic opportunity, government transparency, fairness, and greater liberty.”
Secretary Pompeo expressed hope that “the Iranian regime will come to its senses and support – not suppress – the aspirations of its citizens.”
He declared that in exchange for the major changes the United States has called for in Tehran’s policies, the U.S. is prepared to take actions which will help the Iranian people: “Now is the time for the supreme leader and the Iranian regime to summon the courage to do something historically beneficial for [their] own people, for this ancient and proud nation. As for the United States,” he said, “our eyes are clear as to the nature of this regime, but our ears are open to what may be possible…We are looking for outcomes that benefit the Iranian people, not just the regime.”