Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Wednesday that Iran is "feeling the pain" from the sweeping sanctions revived by President Donald Trump.
"They feel weak and we are suffocating them to the point that they have to address ballistic missiles; they have to address their support on terrorism," Haley told Fox News in an interview.
“Iran is absolutely the spoiler in Syria. We see that they’re trying to be a threat to Israel. They’re creating proxy wars all over the Middle East and it’s all the reason why we got out of the Iran deal -- is because we were funneling a lot of money to let them continue these bad aspects and now we’re saying we cut them off. I think it was August 7th; we put sanctions back on them. November 5th we’re going to hit their oil, we’re going to hit their foreign banks, and so they’re really going to start to feel it. But I think at the end of the day what you’re seeing is nothing is going to fix Iran until Iran fixes itself,” she added.
Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May, and recently signed an executive order officially reinstating sanctions against Iran which had been suspended as part of the agreement.
Following the sanctions, the value of the Iranian rial has plummeted.
Even more severe US sanctions against Iran's banking and energy sectors are slated to go into effect in November, including restrictions on Iran's oil industry that could cut off a crucial source of hard currency.
"Our focus right now is on the Iranian people," Haley told Fox News, acknowledging the unrest in the country. "I mean, they have protested, they have spoken out, they have said they want a better life...But at the end of the day, we can’t allow them to have any nuclear programs."
Responding to reports that former Secretary of State John Kerry may be telling foreign countries to wait out Trump's administration, Haley again slammed the Obama administration's previous deal with Iran.
"They can wait this president out, but this president is what saved us with this policy. Because otherwise, within just a few years, they would have gotten all this money and it would have been lifted anyway," she said, referring to the eventual sunset of key provisions of the Iran deal.
Haley also responded to recent reports that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has approved a gas attack in the Idlib Province, the last remaining rebel stronghold in the country
"What we told, you know, the Syrians, the Russians and the Iranians was, well, twice -- we have warned you not to use chemical weapons; twice you have used it, and twice President Trump has acted," Haley said. "Don’t test us again. Because I think the odds are very much against them."
The White House warned last week that "millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an imminent Assad regime attack, backed by Russia and Iran" in Idlib, adding that President Donald Trump has warned that such an attack would be a reckless escalation of an already tragic conflict and would risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Trump himself warned Assad last week that "the world is watching" as government forces prepare to assault Idlib.
Asked about Trump's authorization on Wednesday of sanctions against any country that interferes with US elections, Haley said the message was clear.
"Straight shot across the bow. To anyone that wants to mess with our midterm elections, get involved in our midterm elections; use any kind of fraud -- the president is saying, if you do it, you will pay," she said.