Pompeo: Iran sanctions will be rigorously enforced

Secretary of State stresses renewed sanctions on Iran will remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

Elad Benari,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane on his way home from Asia, Pompeo said Monday's re-imposition of sanctions is an important pillar in U.S. policy toward Iran, according to The Associated Press.

He added that the Trump administration is open to moving forward with Tehran but that would "require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime."

Pompeo also called the Iranian leadership "bad actors" and said President Donald Trump is intent on getting them to "behave like a normal country."

The comments come as the Trump administration is set on Monday to reimpose the first batch of Iran sanctions since the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in May.

The more significant tranche of sanctions, including on oil sales, won’t come back into force until November.

Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal, under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program.

Washington has told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from November 4 or face financial measures.

Despite the sanctions, Trump said last week he would be willing to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve ties after he pulled the United States out of the 2015 deal.

Iranian leaders, however, were quick to dismiss the gesture. An adviser to Rouhani said that the only way back to talks with the United States was for Washington to return to the nuclear deals which Trump exited in May.

On Saturday, Trump noted the deterioration in the Iranian economy since he withdrew from the nuclear deal and said the ball remains in Iran’s court in deciding whether to meet with him.