The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while speaking at the Heritage Foundation — a Washington DC-based conservative public policy think tank — elaborated the US strategy to deal with Iran after US withdrawal from the JCPOA or the Iran nuclear deal.He revealed the four ‘goals’ of US-Iran strategy: a) ‘counter Iranian destabilising activities in the region’; b) ‘block their (Iran’s) financing of terror’; c) ‘address Iran’s proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapons systems that threaten peace and stability’, and d) stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapons forever. Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for fuelling proxy wars across the Middle East through the Lebanese Hezbollah, Yemen Houthis’ Ansar Allah and Palestinian Hamas. He said that ‘Iran advanced its march across the Middle East during the JCPOA and the wealth created by the West fuelled its military campaigns.’ According to Pompeo, Iran didn’t invest in its people the money it got through JCPOA but in proxy wars and the nuclear deal failed to curb Iranian regional influence.Iran says the US hegemonic designs in the region and its unconditional support to Israel is the main cause of instability in the region. Lethal terrorist group IS emerged on the scene after the US’ illegal occupation of Iraq, and the Houthis got strengthened only when Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the support of the US interfered in Yemen’s internal affairs. Hezbollah came into being when Israel invaded Lebanon in the 1980s. Similarly, the PMU, an Iraqi militia that played a pivotal role in defeating IS, came into being due to the US occupation. It is evident that foreign occupation results in more resistance and militant groups. When the stable government of Gaddafi was overthrown in Libya, the terrorist groups took control of Libya. The US and its allies publically support groups like Free Syrian Army, Ahrar al-Sham, Tahrir al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, etc against a legitimate government and the regime change is the primary stated objective of the US in Syria. This strategy of the US and its allies is the major factor behind regional instability.Neither the US nor the West faces any direct threat from Iran or its allies,but Israel’s ever-increasing anxiety and Iranophobia of the Arabs are dragging the US to the course of military confrontation with IranIran and Russia have been able to bring back some sort of stability to the ME. The IS, who had captured large swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria, has been defeated. In Iraq, successful parliamentary elections were held just recently. Syria, which was torn apart by the terrorists, is also somewhat stable and the terrorists are on the run. Neither the US nor the West faces any direct threat from Iran or its allies, but Israel’s ever-increasing anxiety and Iranophobia of the Arabs are dragging the US to the course of military confrontation with Iran. Israel believes Iran’s nuclear programme, its military presence in Syria, support for Hezbollah and Hamas and ballistic missile programme seriously threaten its security.The hawks like the US National Security Advisor John Bolton — a Jew with strong ties with Israel, who has publically talked about a regime change in Iran — are behind US aggressive policies against Iran. The US strategy against Iran revolves around Israel’s security. Iran has been asked to comply with the US’ demands, permanently halt its nuclear and missile programmes and leave Syria or get ready for the toughest sanctions.The US has threatened to ‘apply unprecedented financial pressure on Iranian regime’ by imposing new sanctions and re-imposing the old with full effect. The US believes Iran is fighting all across the Middle East. With new sanctions, Iran would be battling to keep its economy alive. The objective is to cripple its economy to undermine its defence capabilities. As part of the strategy, US has vowed to work with its partners and allies to ‘deter Iranian aggression’ by ensuring ‘freedom of navigations on waters in the region’, preventing and countering Iranian ‘malign cyber activity’ and tracking down and crushing ‘Iranian operatives and Hezbollah proxies around the world’. Israel has been involved in the assassination of a number of Hezbollah and Hamas operatives and Iranian nuclear scientist in the past.In recent years, Iran-linked hacker groups have shown signs of growing sophistication, expanding their cyber toolkits, prompting the US to blame Iran for several cyber attacks in the Middle East and the US.In the past, Iran has threatened on a number of occasions to block Strait of Hormuz oil route if new were sanctions imposed. About 40 percent of the world’s tanker-borne oil passes through it.The US strategy is to financially pressure Iran and its people in the hope that people would rise against the regime. Its leaders and media continually directly address the Iranian people in a bid to convince them that it’s the Iranian leadership’s policies and not the US who are responsible for their economic problems. It hopes the Iranian system to implode, but it has thus far badly failed to achieve the goals as Iran has not only been able to survive for the last forty years but has made considerable progress in nuclear science, missile technology and advanced weapons systems.The US has vowed to strongly advocate the Iranian people and abuse of human rights. The US supports opposition groups like Mujaheed-e-Khalq (MeK) that strive for a regime change in Iran.The US National Security Advisor John Bolton while addressing the last annual gathering of MeK in the US, hinting a regime change, promised the audience to hold next gathering in Tehran.The US carrot and stick policy, on the one hand, threatens Iran of dire consequences should it fail to comply with the US demands, on the other hand it promises to lift all sanctions, establishing full diplomatic and commercial relationships to allow Iran to have advanced modern technology, and modernisation and re-integration of Iranian economy into the international economic system.Pompeo promised this all, but Tehran cannot believe Washington owing to its past, especially after the unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.The writer is a journalist and analyst based in Islamabad. He tweets @kashifaliraza and can be reached at email@example.comPublished in Daily Times, May 27th 2018.