“The people of Iran… will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” a senior Iranian military commander said in a scathing assessment of Mike Pompeo’s vow that the US will impose the "strongest sanctions in history" on the Islamic Republic if it doesn’t meet Washington’s demands, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported on May 23.
“Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?” added Ismail Kowsari, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, according to ILNA. “History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles,” he added.
Pompeo made his threats in the wake of Donald Trump’s announcement on May 8 that he is unilaterally withdrawing the US from the multilateral nuclear accord, looking to force Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would curb its influence in Middle East conflict zones and limit its ballistic missile development programme.
Several big-name foreign companies fearing exposure to US sanctions have already announced they are pulling out of Iran but the European Union's major powers, Russia and China—the other nuclear deal signatories apart from the US and Iran—are working on ways to protect traders and investors continuing to do business with the Iranians from American penalties.
Iran was on May 22 boosted by Austrian oil, gas and petrochemical group OMV which said it was continuing with planned Iranian energy projects. However, the company is yet to commit to an investment in Iran as yet.
OMV was monitoring political developments in the US and the EU very closely, OMV’s upstream chief Johann Pleininger told its annual shareholder meeting in Vienna, Reuters reported.
“The project has not come to a standstill, it is continuing,” Pleininger said.
Last week, French energy giant Total signalled a likely exit from Iran’s South Pars Phase 11 gas field development project in the Persian Gulf.
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