Secretary Pompeo’s “New Iran Strategy” is the same failed vision for the Middle East that hawks have advocated for decades

Today’s speech by Secretary of State Pompeo only underscores the tremendous risk the Trump Administration is running by violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He spoke at length of the many malign activities that Iran’s leaders undertake at home and abroad, yet has concluded that we are better off forfeiting the inspections capabilities and commitments Iran has made under the JCPOA and the Additional Protocol not to pursue nuclear weapons. This is a terrible bet to make.

Mr. Pompeo demanded 12 commitments of change from Iran. While the list is certainly comprehensive, the Secretary of State failed to articulate a real strategy that would encourage reforms in Iran. He vaguely alluded to the pressure our allies will help us bring to bear, but has he forgotten that our allies have remained strongly supportive of the JCPOA and are seeking to block our sanctions from affecting their companies? His threat to levy the most severe sanctions in history is undermined by the fact that we will be trying to implement them alone.

Finally, Secretary Pompeo’s appeal to the Iranian people was disingenuous. He says the President supports them but they are unlikely to think that sanctions that decrease their access to medicine and the global marketplace, for example, are a gesture of support. The consequences of this “strategy” will be to give a new generation of Iranians ample reasons to distrust the United States and provide Iranian leadership with a scapegoat for their corruption and bad economic policies. This does not make America great; it makes us weak.