This speech/policy sets the table for the North Korea talks with President Trump. Further, it advances the mission on countering militant Islam not only in the region, but globally. Europe has to decide on a corporate business relationship with Iran versus human rights, along with worldwide terrorism at the hands of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Since 2014, a broad range of organizations, from medical companies such as GE Healthcare to aerospace firms such as Lufthansa Technik, as well as educational institutions such as Harvard University, have obtained permission and waivers to operate in Iran.
Other U.S. institutions that were permitted to do business in Iran include: General Electric Medical and Aviation Divisions, Bausch & Lomb, Boston Scientific, Smithsonian Institute, HSBC, Philips North America, University of California San Diego, University of Wisconsin, Loyola University, New York University, BNP Paribas S.A., American Pulp and Paper and Intelsat Corporation to list a few. More here.
(Reuters) – The United States on Monday demanded 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.
Weeks after President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, his administration threatened to impose “the strongest sanctions in history,” and vowed to “crush” Iranian operatives abroad, setting Washington and Tehran further on a course of confrontation.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded sweeping 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.
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.
“These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done,” he added.
Pompeo took aim at Iran’s policy of expansion in the Middle East through support for armed groups in countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
He warned that the United States would “crush” Iranian operatives and proxies abroad and told Tehran to pull out forces under its command from the Syrian civil war where they have helped President Bashar al-Assad gain the upper hand.
Iran’s president summarily dismissed Pompeo’s demands.
“Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?,” the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Hassan Rouhani as saying.
“The world today does not accept America to decide for the world, as countries are independent … that era is over … We will continue our path with the support of our nation.”
Tension between the two countries has grown notably since Trump this month withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
A senior Iranian official said Pompeo’s remarks showed that the United States was pushing for “regime change,” a charged phrase often associated with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein.
Pompeo warned that if Iran fully resumed its nuclear program Washington would be ready to respond and said the administration would hold companies doing prohibited business in Iran to account.
“Our demands on Iran are not unreasonable: give up your program,” Pompeo said, “Should they choose to go back, should they begin to enrich, we are fully prepared to respond to that as well,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Pompeo said Washington would work with the Defense Department and allies to counter Iran in the cyberspace and maritime areas.
The Pentagon said it would take all necessary steps to confront Iranian behavior in the region and was assessing whether that could include new actions or doubling down on current ones.
See the full story here.
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