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.
“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.