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US campaign against Iran is having an impact: Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (File)

The United States’ financial pressure campaign against Iran is having an impact and the Trump administration is determined not to let Tehran acquire nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

The US had, in May, pulled out of a landmark Iranian nuclear deal and ramped up its sanctions against Iran. It had also threatened to cut off access to the American banking system for foreign financial institutions that trade with Iran.

“President Trump has said that Iran is not the same country it was five months ago. That’s because our campaign of financial pressure, our withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and our full-throated support for the Iranian people, which he articulated in a speech this past Sunday, are having an impact,” Pompeo said during a Congressional hearing.

After withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal, the Trump administration is piling pressure on countries like India, China, and other buyers to end all imports of Iranian oil by a November 4 deadline or face sanctions, as it looks to choke the Persian Gulf state’s economic lifeline with sanctions over its nuclear programme.

“There is an enormous economic challenge inside Iran today. It’s an economic structure that simply doesn’t work,” he said.

“When you are a country of that scale that foments terror through Lebanese Hezbollah, through Shia militias in Iraq, into Yemen, conducts assassination attempts in European countries, provides enormous support for Assad outside of Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria, that’s expensive,” he said.

Pompeo said that Iranian People are beginning to see that it is not the model that they want.

“That the Iranian expansionism, that the supreme leader in Qasem Soleimani so favour, is not what they’re looking for,” he said. “You are beginning to see the economic impact, combined with understandings inside of Iran of the Kleptocracy that it is, leading to fundamental decisions that the Iranian people will ultimately have to make,” he told lawmakers.

When Senator Ben Cardin asked that Iran was no longer isolated as it is getting support from Russia, China and Europe and he was unable to understand the US strategy with regards to preventing nuclear proliferation, Pompeo said that the Trump Administration want neither Iran nor North Korea to have the capacity to proliferate nuclear weapons, to enrich uranium or build their own weapons programme.

“That’s the mission set. It draws them together,” he said.

“That sets the conditions for President Trump’s understanding of how one achieves non-proliferation in the world and that’s the mission state we’re undertaking in each of those two countries. They’re in different places and we are working on our approach in each place that we think increases the likelihood that we’re able to successfully achieve that, a mission I know you share,” Pompeo said.

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