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U.S. sanctions putting pressure on Iran and Iranians

11 January 2019

"Some U.S. officials pretend that they are mad. Of course, I don't agree with that, but they are first-class idiots", he said in speech in Tehran, quoted on his official Twitter feed.

This has included National Security Advisor John Bolton - a long-time regime change advocate - who often speaks at gatherings of the exiled People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) opposition group, considered a terrorist cult by Tehran's leaders. Trump's personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has made similar comments before the MEK over the years. Pompeo, on Wednesday, met with prominent Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to discuss, among other things, how to best curb Iranian influence, according to Al Jeezera. On Tuesday, the USA top diplomat threatened that America would double down on commercial and diplomatic efforts in the coming weeks to "put real pressure on Iran".

Pompeo and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi discussed efforts to ensure the "lasting defeat throughout the region" of ISIS, whose tactics have shifted to guerrilla warfare after losing almost all of the territory the jihadists once controlled in Iraq and Syria.

In November, the Trump administration announced that it was reimposing every sanction on Iran that had been lifted under the Obama administration.

Addressing a large gathering of people from the central holy city of Qom on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the root causes of the US' enmity toward the Islamic Republic and said the nature and reality of the 1979 Islamic Revolution is the main reason behind such a "deep and lasting" hostility.

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The United States reinstated sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear deal, in which Tehran received worldwide sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal has seen the 79-year-old cleric grow increasingly critical. In 2017, he criticized President Donald Trump for calling Iran a "terrorist" nation.

What's next: Pompeo told reporters during his visit to Jordan on Tuesday that the United States will "in the coming days and weeks" double down "not only our diplomatic but our commercial efforts to put real pressure on Iran to achieve what it is we set out for them back in May" - referring to the 12 demands of Iran he outlined shortly after President Trump exited the 2015 nuclear deal.

"The body of this man, Trump, will turn to ashes and become the food of the worms and ants, while the Islamic Republic continues to stand", he said.

U.S. sanctions putting pressure on Iran and Iranians