Stories by Barbara Slavin

Expert Voices

How Trump’s push to end Iran oil exports could backfire

Mike Pompeo at a lectern during State Department press conference
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department press conference on April 22. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration Monday dramatically escalated its campaign of economic warfare against Iran, announcing that it would not renew any waivers for countries to import Iranian oil after May 2.

The big picture: Per Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the goal is for Iran to reverse its foreign and domestic policies and accede to 12 demands he set out in a speech last year. But the plan is certain to face pushback from importers of Iranian oil, raise prices for consumers and further erode the value of sanctions as a tool of diplomacy.

Expert Voices

U.S. pushes Iranian regime change in Warsaw, with mixed support

U.S. policy toward Iran hardened further in Poland this week, as U.S. officials demanded that Europe abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and suggested that Iranians rise up and overthrow their government.

Expert Voices

In Cairo speech, Pompeo tries to straighten out Trump's Mideast policy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart following their meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Cairo on January 10, 2019.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference in Cairo, Jan. 10. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did his best on Thursday to paper over the contradictions in the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, in a speech that was heavy on Iran bashing and light on criticism of U.S. allies.

The big picture: Pompeo performed his greatest verbal gymnastics when seeking to project an image of U.S. resolve against both Iran and the Islamic State, or ISIS, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria — the main purpose of the secretary’s current Mideast tour. But given varying White House statements, Pompeo’s claims that withdrawing the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria doesn't constitute “a change in mission” deserve skepticism.