Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is possible for sanctions on Iran that were reimposed Monday to be lifted, but noted that it will take “enormous change” by the Islamic Republic, which must “behave like a normal country.”
According to NPR, Pompeo made the statement while speaking with reporters on Air Force One on Sunday. He also described Iran’s leadership as “bad actors”. Pompeo was returning from a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore.
The Associated Press reported that America’s European allies have interpreted that language as code for regime change.
“Tomorrow is an important day, we’ve talked a lot about the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, tomorrow the first set of waivers associated with the wind-down period after the President’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA will take effect,” Pompeo reportedly said.
On Monday, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold, and other key metals.
On November 4, another series of sanctions will be imposed on Iran’s oil sector. President Donald Trump has warned that any countries that fail to stop importing Iranian oil by that date could face sanctions of their own.
The reimposed sanctions are the result of the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, on May 8.
China, India, Turkey, and South Korea are among Iran’s top oil importers.
Iran’s hard currency is heavily reliant on its oil sales.
To prepare for the reimposition of sanctions, Iran’s Central Bank lifted a ban on exchange offices on Monday, allowing them to bring hard currencies into the system.
“We are facing an economic war and the U.S. government is restoring sanctions and also trying to increase them,” Abdolnasser Hemmati, the governor of Iran’s Central Bank, reportedly said. “But our government is powerful … and is capable of opening up the foreign currency market on the same day.”