According to Pompeo's speech, which was delivered at the Heritage Foundation think tank based in Washington, DC, Iran must release American hostages, halt its ballistic missile program, remove its troops from Syria, and end its support for the Houthis in Yemen as well as for Hezbollah, the Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon, if the US is to renegotiate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The US recently announced its intention to pull out of the historic accord, under which, in general, Iran agreed to cap nuclear enrichment at a low level and allow international inspectors into its nuclear facilities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that the language used in Pompeo's speech reveals that the US does not stand for human rights, international law, justice or human dignity.
"I'm not very surprised [by the speech] because it used language very similar to the language Trump has been using [throughout his presidency]," Marandi told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
"It is surprising, however, in the sense that the secretary of state, who is supposed to be presenting the US as a reasonable and law-abiding country, is doing the exact opposite. He is showing the US to be very unreasonable and brutal. The whole notion of crushing a nation is something you would expect from a dictatorship or a Nazi leader. So, in that sense, it's surprising, because Pompeo is showing the international community what the Trump regime really stands for, which is not human rights and justice."
On Monday, Pompeo announced an "unprecedented" level of on sanctions on Iran, which are to be the "strongest in history." These sanctions followed the announcement that the US would unilaterally exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the deal struck by Iran, China, France, Russia, UK, US, Germany and the EU. Pompeo also noted that the new sanctions won't be lifted until Tehran agrees to modify its foreign policy to US wishes — namely, to stop supporting the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas, and to withdraw Iranian forces the US alleges are active in Syria.
Tehran has been accused by Washington and Tel Aviv of having a military presence in Syria and even of building a base there, a claim repeatedly dismissed by the Islamic Republic, which insists that it has no troops in the Arab Republic, only a few military advisers helping Damascus in its fight against terrorism.
"We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete," Pompeo said during his speech.
"We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East," he added.
"I doubt any person who has knowledge of Iran will believe that Iran will accept any of these conditions," Marandi told Radio Sputnik.
"No country that has any degree of independence or dignity would accept such demands, let alone a country like Iran that has fought for its independence for decades now. I find it difficult to believe that the US is willfully heading to military confrontation because I think they recognize that Iran is incomparable to Iraq, Libya and Yemen, which the US has destroyed. Iran is a very powerful country with powerful allies across the region. It has enormous defense capabilities. The Americans know that there is sort of a balance of terror between the two sides — not that Iran is as powerful as the US, but it is strong enough to make the Americans lose tremendously," Marandi added.
Hours after Pompeo's speech, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Tehran would not accept the US' demands.
"The world today does not accept that the United States decides for the world. Countries have their independence," Rohani said in a statement to Iranian media. "Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?"
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Pompeo's speech, saying that the US top diplomat outlined a "very strong position" in his address.
"We believe it's the only policy that can ultimately guarantee the security of the Middle East and peace in our region," Netanyahu said.
Marandi disagrees. "What the US is really doing by making speeches like this is making the world dislike them."
"The Russians, the Chinese and other countries recognize that the US government is a rogue regime, that it's a menace and that there needs to be a mechanism developed to prevent it from behaving in this manner. So, they are enhancing those forces that would potentially wish to unite to stop the US," Marandi added.
"The mainstream media in the US is as deeply guilty as the current administration. For 40 years, they demonized Iran.They supported Saddam Hussein [president of Iraq from 1979 until 2003] and they gave him chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranians. The relationship between Iran and the US is between a country that has tried to impose its will for decades and a country that has been trying to resist hegemony," Marandi explained.