U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the outgoing administration’s most vocal anti-Iranian policymaker, said the Islamic Republic should not enrich uranium at any level. He made the remarks after Tehran threatened to expel international inspectors unless U.S. sanctions were lifted.
Iran “should not be allowed to enrich uranium at any level,” Pompeo said, as posted Saturday on the U.S. State Department website. He accused the Islamic Republic of threatening regional security through its nuclear energy program.
The United States, under President Donald Trump, three years ago canceled a nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers that was widely hailed as a pillar of regional and international security and resumed the “toughest” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The unilateral action prompted Iran to announce a series of nuclear countermeasures, as allowed under the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Last week, Iran announced that it had resumed the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent purity at its Fordo nuclear power plant.
The action was taken under a bill called the Strategic Anti-Sanctions Action Plan, which the House approved late last year. According to the law, the next U.S. administration has until Feb. 21 to lift the sanctions.
The law also allows the Islamic Republic to expel United Nations nuclear watchdog inspectors if Washington fails to resume its commitments under the JCPOA.On Sunday, Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, a senior parliamentarian, recalled that “as long as the sanctions are not lifted, we see no reason to implement our commitments.”
“Implementing commitments without lifting sanctions is against the interests of the Iranian nation,” he added, stating that sanctions must be lifted, particularly in the financial, banking and oil sectors.
Pompeo accused Iran of “breaking” the nuclear agreement by resuming uranium enrichment to 20 percent and claimed the act was “nuclear brinksmanship.” He further accused the Islamic Republic of “using its nuclear program to blackmail the international community.”
“The United States fully supports the IAEA’s (the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency) continued professional and independent review and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program,” he said. “Iran’s expulsion of international inspectors must be universally condemned,” the U.S. official added.
The top diplomat’s remarks overlooked Washington’s dark history of being the only country in the world to have ever used nuclear weapons, as well as its departure from nuclear weapons control regimes with Russia under Trump.
by Jeremy Abbott – American Correspondent – FN