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Trump ‘will continue to ratchet up pressure’ on Iran, Pompeo says

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo speaks during the meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, 2019. (U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith/Department of Defense)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Donald Trump will continue to increase pressure on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told the Senate.

“I can assure the rest of the world that President Trump will continue to ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran so that their behavior will change,” Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 10.

But the top U.S. diplomat declined further comment on the possibility of waivers for countries that import Iranian oil.

Trump has taken a hard line toward Iran by withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal that world powers signed with Iran in 2015 and by reimposing tough economic sanctions.

On April 8, Trump said he would designate Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces.

The action by Trump, who has, marked the first time the United States has formally labeled another nation’s military a terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hizballah group on April 10 floated the prospect of retaliation by Iran and its allies over the U.S. sanctions.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shi’ite group, said that all options were on the table were Washington to take steps that “threaten our nation.”

“There are measures which, if taken by the Americans…who said they will remain without response?” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

Iran and its allies held “many strong cards,” he added. Hizballah has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States.