US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a series of dramatic potential US concessions to Iran if it agrees to make “major changes.”
In his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA, Pompeo on Monday called for a stronger nuclear agreement with Iran following the US withdrawal from the 2015 deal.
He said if a deal was reached that satisfies the administration of President Donald Trump, the US would be willing to lift all economic sanctions.
He made the comments at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington as he outlined the new US strategy on the Islamic Republic, including 12 tough conditions from Washington for any "new deal" with Tehran.
He noted the Trump administration prefers for it to be a treaty that is ratified by Congress.
The top diplomat added the US would restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran and allow it to access advanced technology.
Pompeo said the US would even support the modernization of Iran’s economy and help it reintegrate into the global financial system.
He also threatened to place “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if it doesn’t change course.
"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure... The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness," Pompeo said.
Pompeo said Iran must also “release all US citizens,” end support for Houthis in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria and stop threatening Israel.
Trump has long said the original 2015 deal with Iran – also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – did not go far enough, and now wants the Europeans and others to support his hardline strategy.
"In the strategy we are announcing today, we want the support of our most important allies and partners in the region and around the globe. I don't just mean our friends in Europe," Pompeo said.
His threat of further sanctions came as European parties to the landmark nuclear deal were working to find a way to keep the pact in effect with Iran after Washington’s exit.
Critics say that the new approach is nonnegotiable and won’t garner strong support in Moscow, Beijing or European capitals, according to wsj.com.
“It’s a pipe-dream to believe the administration could achieve its wish-list of unrealistically ambitious negotiating objectives,” said Robert J. Einhorn to wsj.com, a former State Department official who was involved in Iran negotiations during the Obama administration.
AP, AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.