Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

‌By Amir Taghati

The Trump administration’s strategy to deal with Iran is to put it under extreme pressure with the aim of cutting it off from the funding that permits it to carry malign and terrorist acts across the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier this year, President Trump announced that the United States was exiting the 2015 nuclear deal. His European counterparts strongly advised him not to, but he went ahead, explaining that the nuclear deal was having the opposite effect to what was intended. That is to say, the nuclear deal was guaranteeing a nuclear arms race.

Trump announced that crippling economic sanctions would be reapplied and the State Department announced that it expects foreign countries to reduce their imports of Iranian oil to zero by November this year. The economic sanctions on Iran are currently hitting the country’s banking and energy sectors.

In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a list of twelve demands that the Iranian regime had to adhere to in order for the United States to reconsider negotiating with Iran. The list of conditions covered the numerous issues that were not dealt with in the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and they included many of Iran’s malign activities. For example, Iran’s ballistic missile program, its interference in the internal affairs of other nations in the region and its continued enrichment of uranium.

Since then, the State Department has mentioned the human rights situation in Iran on a number of occasions. Just a couple of months later, the Secretary of State spoke about the repression imposed on the people of Iran and the corruption that is destroying the country. He told an audience of Iranian-Americans that the Trump administration “dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do”.

Last week, Pompeo announced that the United States is demanding that Iran improves its human rights record. He said: “President Trump has made clear that the pressure will only increase if Iran does not live up to the standards the United States and its partners and allies—and the Iranian people themselves—want to see. That is why Washington is also demanding that Tehran make substantial improvements on human rights.”

Washington’s special representative for Iran Brian Hook has also spoken out about the human rights situation in Iran. He has advocated the maximum pressure approach and said that the people of Iran have been subjected to great suffering because of the regime’s refusal to respect their human rights.

Since the end of last year, the people of Iran have been protesting against the Iranian regime. They have continued to protest, strike and hold anti-government demonstrations and there is an overwhelmingly clear call for regime change.

The people have realised that there is no way for the Iranian regime to reform or become more moderate. They have heard foreign leaders tell them that they have to be patient and wait for reform – but for as long as the current regime has power, there will never be human rights or freedom for the people.