The Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran has led to a 24 percent cut in the Iranian government’s proposed military and security budget for next year, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Wednesday.
Pompeo stressed in a statement that oil and petrochemicals are the two primary sources of income for the Iranian regime to oppress the people and promote its malicious foreign goals, citing Washington’s sanctions on a Vietnamese company and its CEO.
The US State Department included a gas and petrochemical transportation company in Vietnam on the sanctions list on November 5, 2018, due to its role in transporting petroleum products from Iran.
According to Pompeo, the ministry also imposed sanctions on the company’s CEO.
“We reiterate that the fundamental change in the Iranian regime’s behavior is the only way to ease the sanctions,” the statement said.
This came after the US Treasury announced, on Wednesday, sanctions against 5 companies, in addition to a Vietnamese company that helped Iran sell petrochemical products.
The Trump administration announced that it would tighten Iran’s sanctions in the final weeks of the current US administration and called on President-elect Joe Biden to make the most of these pressures on Iran.
On Tuesday, Elliott Abrams, the US special envoy to Iran, announced the start of talks between him and other officials in the Trump administration with Joe Biden’s team on Iran and the nuclear deal.
“We are trying to convince them that this is not 2015, but rather that it will be 2021, and there have been a lot of changes, so the formulas that were thought to be good frameworks for negotiations are not very important today,” Abrams said.
This comes as the Iranian leader, Ali Khamenei, gave the green light to Hassan Rouhani to negotiate with the Biden administration, saying in a speech that “if the sanctions can be lifted, we should not delay even one hour.”
For his part, the Iranian president reiterated his position on his readiness to negotiate and said, Wednesday, that “our steadfastness for three years will force the next American administration to submit to the Iranian people.”
He added, “As the guide of the revolution said yesterday, it is not permissible for us to delay even an hour to lift the sanctions as much as possible.”