US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (File photo)
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (File photo)

1 year after exiting from nuke deal, US says will continue its pressure campaign against Iran

ANI | Updated: May 09, 2019 04:33 IST

Washington DC [USA], May 9 (ANI): On the first anniversary of the US' withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington on Wednesday said it will continue to "impose maximum pressure" against Tehran till the regime gives up its "destabilising ambitions" of expanding its nuclear programme.
"One year ago today, President Trump announced the United States would cease to participate in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and would instead embark on a bold new strategy to end Iran's destabilising behaviour and prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon," the State Department said in a statement.
"President Trump promised that America would never be held hostage to the Iranian regime's nuclear blackmail and that we would aggressively seek to address the full range of Iran's destabilising activities," it added.
Highlighting the steps taken by the Trump administration, the statement noted, "We have imposed the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime, designating nearly 1,000 individuals and entities in the past year. The Trump administration has taken Iran's oil exports to historic lows, and stopped issuing Significant Reduction Exceptions to importers of Iranian oil, effectively zeroing out purchases of Iranian crude."
"In May, Secretary Pompeo tightened restrictions that impede Iran's ability to reconstitute its past nuclear weapons program and prevent Iran from shortening the time it would take to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Today, President Trump announced a new sanctions authority targeting trade in Iranian metals. This targets Iran's largest non-oil related export and further degrades the regime's ability to fund terror and instability in the Middle East," it said.
"The Iranian regime's announcement today that it intends to expand its nuclear program is in defiance of international norms and a blatant attempt to hold the world hostage. Its threat to renew nuclear work that could shorten the time to develop a nuclear weapon underscores the continuing challenge the Iranian regime poses to peace and security worldwide," the statement further said.
The US urged the international community to hold Iran "accountable" for its threat to expand its nuclear programme, adding that Washington's allies and partners have been jointly fighting to "counter Iranian aggression."
"The United States is committed to denying the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon. We will continue to impose maximum pressure on the regime until it abandons its destabilising ambitions. We call on the international community to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its threat to expand its nuclear program," the statement said.
"We have acted with countries from nearly every continent to disrupt Iran's illicit oil shipping operations. The European Union passed new sanctions against Iranian entities in response to two foiled terror plots last year. Other nations have responded to Iran's malign activity by recalling ambassadors, expelling Iranian diplomats, eliminating visa-free travel, or denying landing rights to Mahan Air," it added.
The US would continue to apply "maximum pressure" on Iran until the regime changed its "destructive behaviour, respect the rights of the Iranian people and return to the negotiating table."
Meanwhile, Iran on Wednesday announced partial withdrawal from the landmark nuclear deal signed with world powers, a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement.
The partial withdrawal would mean that Iran would stop exporting enriched uranium stocks as against what was stipulated by the 2015 agreement.
Tehran warned that the remaining signatories -- the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia -- had 60 days before it would resume high-level enrichment of uranium.
Ties between the US and Iran soured after Washington pulled out from the Iran nuclear deal last year. Since then, Washington slapped a multitude of sanctions on Tehran, citing the latter's support to state-sponsored terrorism and conflicts.
The US also recently announced that no fresh sanction waivers will be issued for Iranian oil imports to eight countries, including India. (ANI)