The conditions have been described by some as additional terms for a new deal.
So, what is the Trump administration asking of Iran?
One of the criticisms about the 2015 nuclear deal is the lack of access granted to the nuclear inspectors. If the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wanted access to a particular site, it would need to provide Iran with notice meaning that Iran would be able to delay a visit for more than 3 weeks. Obviously, this renders an inspection pointless because it gives the Iranian regime more than enough time to dispose of any evidence of wrongdoing.
There is also some uncertainly with regards to military sites – Iran claims that they are off-limits, but this is clearly something that would prove or disprove Iran’s compliance.
Pompeo is now asking that nuclear inspectors are given unconditional and unhindered access to all sites in Iran.
Another criticism of the 2015 deal is the lack of reference to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Despite Iran’s terrible track record in trustworthiness, the nuclear deal allowed for sanctions on Iran’s missile program to be withdrawn within 8 years.
Worryingly, Iran has launched more than twenty ballistic missiles since the deal was agreed. The Trump administration’s demands for Iran to stop its proliferation of ballistic missiles are quite reasonable.
The Iranian economy, before the deal was agreed, had been severely weakened. The sanctions have been fine-tuned over a number of US administrations and were the fruit of decades of work. This progress was stamped out when Obama agreed to lift economic sanctions.
When sanctions were lifted, billions of dollars-worth of assets became available. Instead of putting some of this newfound wealth towards improving the social conditions in the country or making the lives of the people easier or improving services, the Iranian regime plundered it on militias, proxy groups and spreading terrorism and chaos across the Middle East.
When the deal took effect, the Iranian regime became emboldened and ramped up its aggression in the region, even provoking US Navy vessels on a number of occasions. Obama promised that the Iranian regime would become more civilised when the deal was signed, but the opposite was true. This is no doubt why the Trump administration is now demanding that Iran ends its support for terrorist groups in the region, that it ends its support for the Houthi militias in Yemen and that it withdraws its forces from Syria. Pompeo also stated that the Trump administration expects Iran to stop threatening its neighbours.
The list of conditions can be seen as a way of addressing the weakness of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Trump has made it clear that the days of appeasement are over, so we can safely presume that none of these conditions are negotiable. It remains to be seen whether Iran will comply, but it is running out of options.