The US Special Representative for Iran announced on Wednesday Iran-related sanctions on four entities in China and Russia, accusing them of activities promoting Tehran’s missile program.
The Trump administration plans further pressure on Tehran, with sanctions related to arms, weapons of mass destruction and human rights, Reuters quoted Elliott Abrams as saying.
Meanwhile, European powers are looking to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration to swiftly reduce nuclear tensions with Tehran but won’t press Washington to re-enter the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran quickly, according to senior diplomats.
Officials from France, Britain and Germany—countries that helped negotiate the accord—say a full return to the agreement might not be achievable or even desirable before Iran’s presidential elections in June, amid growing European concerns about Iranian nuclear research activities.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the diplomats urged Washington to agree to a speedy agreement once Biden takes office next spring, which requires offering some relief from comprehensive US sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran’s retreat from its increased nuclear activities.
Providing some tangible economic benefits to Iran before the June elections will serve as an incentive for the new Iranian government to follow up on diplomatic discussions, the sources noted, adding that this will require a quick cessation of some nuclear activities.
They, however, pointed out that Biden’s team has not announced its detailed plans for Iran nor yet shared future plans with European allies.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has earlier said that he hopes the new administration would choose a different course.
“They took a very different view. They lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind,” he said in an interview with Fox News, stressing that 2020 is different from what it was in 2015.
“I hope they’ll see the things that we have done and how this has delivered greater peace in the Middle East, how it’s reduced risk, where we took down what was a very tense situation when we came into office.”
The US policy towards Iran compels the current administration to leave some troops in the Middle East to face any threats from Iran and its affiliated militias, calling on the next administration to benefit from the gains achieved by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Pompeo defended the maximum pressure strategy adopted by the US that has isolated Iran.
He pointed out that it deprived Iranians from tens of billions of dollars but in fact saved lots of lives and lots of American lives.
“Appeasing terrorists, appeasing those who have hegemonic desires, appeasing those who are underwriting militias all throughout the region and destabilizing the Middle East cannot possibly be the right course of action,” he stressed, adding that this would put them on a pathway to a nuclear weapon, and “we should never give Iran that chance.”