Earlier today (Monday) ne US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, presented this administration’s “Plan B” at the Heritage Foundation on how to deal with Iran following the US’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the JCPOA. Pompeo presented 12 demands and threatened to impose “the strongest economic sanctions in history.” The Trump administration may wish to do the latter, but the refusal of all the other parties to the JCPOA to go along with this effort will certainly guarantee that even if the sanctions are strong, they will not match what preceded the negotiation of the JCPOA. As it is, Jeffrey Sachs (as reported by Juan Cole) has argued that if Trump tries to sanction European companies dealing with Iran through non-dollar currencies, the EU should take the US to the WTO as well as the UN Security Council and General Assembly. After all, this extraterritorial action would violate international trade agreements, and given that the JCPOA is an officially recognized agreement by the UN Security Council, the US is in fact in violation of international law with its withdrawal, not that those supporting this recognize this.
As it is, the 12 demands are chock full of hypocrisy and nonsense, some of it unacceptable even to a government that would be secular and pro-US. I shall not go through all of them, but will note just three that will not be accepted by Iran, to the extent the are even possible to be carried out. One is for Iran to “cease threatening its neighbors.” Well, the problem with this is that it is largely in the minds of such neighbors as Saudi Arabia and UAE that Iran is “threatening” them. KSA has the third highest level of military spending in the world, but somehow Iran is “threatening” it. KSA has called for the military overthrow of the Iranian government. I am unaware of the Iranian government doing the same regarding KSA. Of course many of the demands involve Iraq and Syria, but last time I checked the governments of those nations have invited what Iranian military units are in their nations, with them in Syria battling against rebels backed by KSA and UAE attempting to overthrow that government. Really, this is just ridiculous, although Bahrain might have a complaint about Iran providing some military aid to majority Shia elements in that nation opposed to its dominant Sunni government, but Bahrain has had a problem with this for a long time.