Mike Pompeo (Photo Credit: Adem Altan/AFP)

The Trump administration abandoned the hard-negotiated Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and re-introduced hefty sanctions against Tehran, threatening to punish any country for continuing to do business with the Islamic Republic. Washington’s policy was heavily criticised by other signatories to the deal and led to Iran ramping up its uranium enrichment.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has started a thread of messages on Twitter devoted to the Trump administration’s efforts directed against Iran, boasting about the country’s alleged successes in the field.

The top diplomat started with the bizarre claim that there could hardly be a more difficult task than normalising relations with the Islamic Republic. What is stranger is that Pompeo substantiated his allegation with a claim that the Iranian regime is a “group of radical ideologues” who have been chanting “Death to America” since 1979.

While the phrase is popular in the Islamic Republic, it can hardly be called a daily mantra for locals. It is usually chanted after the US makes a provocative move against Iran, for example, by imposing sanctions on an entire sector of its economy, or killing a top general visiting Iraq on a diplomatic mission.

Success of US Sanctions?

Pompeo went on to claim that were it not for Trump’s sanctions, which were introduced in 2018 after the US ditched the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Tehran would have purportedly developed nuclear weapons.

The secretary of state claimed that US sanctions deprived Tehran of $70 billion in income, removing two million barrels of Iranian oil from the market, and depriving the country of foreign investments. The US diplomat claimed that these actions had crippled Tehran’s military budget, which sank by 24% in 2020.

The secretary of state ignored the fact that the country, like many other states, diverted significant resources to fight off the coronavirus pandemic in the past turbulent year, which forced even the Pentagon to tighten its belt for some of its projects. Pompeo also ignored repeated statements made by Tehran that not only does it not seek to create nuclear weapons, but it also considers them incompatible with the country’s religion, Islam.

The republic has long agreed to allow the IAEA to monitor its nuclear facilities to ensure the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme and limited its development in exchange for lifting international sanctions.