Saturday, May 25, 2019

Game on: Bolton Vows to 'Squeeze' Iran 'Until the Pips Squeak'

The U.S. will “squeeze” Iran “until the pips squeak” through the tough new round of trade sanctions now in force, National Security Advisor John Bolton promised Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has slowly ratcheted up pressure on Tehran by dropping a host of favourable trade deals authorised by Barack Obama, withdrawing from an international agreement aimed at ending its nuclear program and re-introducing unilateral U.S. sanctions.

At the same time Iran has sought to evade the sanctions, principally in alliance with the European Union, much to the disgust of the Trump administration.

The latest tranche of measures began earlier this month.

They have been touted as the toughest yet, as the Trump administration tries to force Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to curb Iran’s nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and others in the Middle East.

Mr. Trump flagged the reimposition of trade sanctions with a Tweet:

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018

Mr. Bolton said Iran will have to live with the consequences of its choices: “We think the government is under real pressure and it’s our intention to squeeze them very hard.

“As the British say, squeeze them until the pips squeak.

“We are also going to significantly increase the enforcement of sanctions.”

Washington is demanding that Iran end policies rooted in the 1979 Islamist revolution, including its support for regional proxies such as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and its development of missiles.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year.

Mr. Bolton was speaking to reporters in Singapore on the sidelines of meetings this week between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and external partners, including the United States and China.

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