US secretary of state set to outline post-deal strategy on Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and Vice President Mike Pence listen to President Donald Trump during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2018. (AFP photo)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to outline the Donald Trump administration's new strategy toward Iran, weeks after the US president announced to withdraw from the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear deal.

Pompeo will deliver his first foreign policy speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, on Monday, where he is expected to censure the Europeans for refusing to go along with Trump’s decision to unilaterally walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

"Looking forward to speaking [at Heritage] on Monday, May 21, about the road ahead on [Iran]," Pompeo tweeted over the weekend.

The State Department’s top policy adviser, Brian Hook, said Friday that Pompeo will lay out the administration’s plans to negotiate a “new framework that’s going to address the totality of Iran’s threats.”

Other Trump administration officials have said the new US strategy will encompass "a new security architecture" that extends beyond Iran’s peaceful nuclear program to also include its missile technology, activities in Syria and Yemen, according to CNN.

On May 8, Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal despite efforts by the European allies to convince him to stay in the 2015 agreement.

Trump also signed a presidential memorandum to impose the “highest level of sanctions” against Iran and said the US would punish companies and countries that violate those sanctions.

Washington faces an uphill task to convince European allies to back the new sanctions as European companies could lose billions of dollars in commercial deals struck since the nuclear accord, and lose access to a major new export market.

On Sunday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated the EU could offer financial help to European countries that would be hard-hit by American sanctions if they continued doing business with Iran.

European allies of the US are growing increasingly frustrated over Trump's decision to pull out from the deal.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk condemned Trump, suggesting Europe could no longer rely on its old ally.

"With friends like that who needs enemies," Tusk tweeted, referring to Trump.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday the EU's "political support" for the nuclear agreement is not enough, urging the bloc to take more practical steps to boost economic cooperation with Iran.

"With the US exiting the JCPOA, public opinion's expectations from the European Union have increased to save the JCPOA's achievements," the top Iranian diplomat said.


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