However, Pompeo refused to comment on whether sanctions waivers for countries that import Iranian oil would be extended past May, despite senators, like Ted Cruz of Texas, imploring him to end the waivers when the deadline comes up as they current generate billions of dollars for the Regime.
Pompeo said: “We’ve been clear about our objective in getting Iran to zero (imports) just as quickly as we possibly can, and will continue to do that.”
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran last year after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. In November, the oil sanctions came into place, but the US allowed temporary six-month sanctions waivers for Iran’s eight biggest buyers – India, Turkey, China, Japan, South Korea, Greece, Italy, and Taiwan.
Reportedly, India, which has bought about 9 million barrels a month since November, has held off on ordering Iranian oil until they hear what the decision is.
Pompeo’s comments come shortly after Trump declared that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) would be designated a foreign terrorist organization on April 8. This marked the first time that the US has formally designated another nation’s military a terrorist group and sparked predictable threats against US troops in the Middle East from Iran.
Meanwhile, Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, which has long been designated as a terror group by the US, also threatened retaliation for the sanctions on April 10.
Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that all options were on the table if the US “threatened” the Iranian Regime as Iran and its allies hold “many strong cards”.
He said: “There are measures which, if taken by the Americans…who said they will remain without response?”
However, Pompeo argued that there would be significant pressure on Iran, not the US, for the move, noting that many entities would now be forced to stop funding the Iranian Regime. This is because the IRGC control the vast majority of the Iranian economy.
He said: “If you’re the general counsel of an Asian bank or a European bank, your world changed when that designation came out yesterday.”
Pompeo also said that “there is no doubt there is a connection” between Al Qaeda and Iran.