Pompeo vows to enforce sanctions on Iran

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, speaks to European Union's Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini ahead of the at the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat in Singapore, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.

Speaking with reporters on Air Force One on Sunday, Pompeo described Tehran's leadership as "bad actors" and said the president's goal is to get Iran to "behave like a normal country".

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.

The official says the US will use the sanctions aggressively and cited Iran's severe economic downturn this year as evidence the sanctions would prove to be effective despite opposition from the EU, China and Russian Federation. The 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, of JCPOA, brought a suspension of US sanctions in exchange for Tehran's agreement to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Starting this week, Washington will reimpose sanctions on Iran's purchases of USA dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals, and its dealings with metals, coal and industrial-related software.

Supporters of the deal say that, while flawed, it has successfully prevented Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the medium term.

The renewed sanctions follow President Trump's decision in May to withdraw the USA from the multi-nation nuclear accord with Tehran.

The sanctions will target numerous areas of Iranian economic activity, including the automotive and precious metals industries.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the renewed sanctions against Iran are an important pillar in USA policy toward the Tehran government.

In a statement Monday, President Donald Trump called the 2015 pact "a disgusting, one-sided deal, (that) failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos".

As The Associated Press reports, "Many U.S. allies believe that such language is code for regime change, according to two European diplomats involved in negotiations with the Trump administration over how sanctions would be re-imposed".

Pompeo says the sanctions will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

On Monday, trade sanctions resume on the import of Iranian products, such as carpets and pistachios. Europeans and others said they will attempt to keep the deal alive, but they risk being penalized by Washington if their companies continue to do business with Iran.

In exchange, crippling United Nations sanctions on Iran were eased and billions of dollars in Iranian assets were unfrozen and returned.

In May, Trump withdrew from the deal, despite intense lobbying from Europe not to do so.