In a speech delivered on May 21, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out 12 demands that Iran has to fulfill in order to negotiate another nuclear deal with Washington.
President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month, but he left the door open to reach a new agreement. President Trump announced in early May the US would withdraw from the accord.
The U.S. secretary of state unveiled a list of a dozen basic requirements for a new treaty, which included that the regime halt enrichment of uranium, and demanded that Iran allow access to all nuclear sites nationwide.
"We're open to new steps with not only our allies and partners, but with Iran as well", he said. "I'm not totally pessimistic about the situation".
Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson, German foreign minister Heiko Maas and French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian take part in meeting with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels, Belgium, May 15, 2018. European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Mr Pompeo had not demonstrated in his speech how abandoning the deal made the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation.
It's no surprise that Iran didn't take that well.
The older American sanctions prohibited nearly all trade with Iran, making some exceptions only for activity "intended to benefit the Iranian people" such as the export of medical and agricultural equipment. A bad decision such as imposing even tougher sanctions on Iran, an attempt at regime change, or a military strike of any sort would push the country towards a military theocracy far more repressive and uncompromising than before both at home and overseas.
"The Iranian regime should know that this is just the beginning", Pompeo warned.
"Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity", Pompeo said. There's a huge market there. "The global community expects all sides to keep the commitments they made more than two years ago", she added.
Limiting Iran's missile capabilities was one of Pompeo's main demands.
"Iran will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights overseas".
"It's hard to imagine that Pompeo or anyone else thinks this is actually going to happen", said Benjamin Friedman, a fellow at the conservative Defense Priorities think tank in Washington. But acknowledge that they can not force big companies to change their own economic calculation.
If Iran does not change course, the U.S.
Still, many question how effective US sanctions will actually be.
European leaders have strongly condemned the USA move to abandon the nuclear deal - a pact also involving Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany - and reimpose sanctions, seeing it as undermining regional security and a direct attack on their economic interests. That is their decision to make.
But Trump, under pressure from Israel, Saudi Arabia and a few key campaign donors, chose to blame the JCPOA for failing to solve the problems it was never meant to address - Iran's interference in the region, support for various extremist groups and its ballistic missile programme.