The State Department's director of policy planning, Brian Hook, held a news briefing Tuesday to discuss diplomatic efforts with Iran, and the 12 demands the Islamic Republic needs to meet – or else.
"It has been almost two months since President (Donald) Trump announced our withdrawal from the Iran deal, and a little over one month since Secretary (Mike) Pompeo laid out a roadmap for achieving a better deal," Hook recalled.
"The secretary outlined a clear and compelling vision for a better future for the Iranian people. This future can only be realized, though, if Iran meets 12 demands to become a normal country," he continued. "Normal countries don't terrorize other nations, proliferate missiles and impoverish their own people."
"As Secretary Pompeo has said, this new strategy is not about changing the regime; it is about changing the behavior of the leadership in Iran to comport with what the Iranian people really want them to do," Hook said.
A key part of the United States strategy is a campaign of maximum economic and diplomatic pressure.
"The first part of our sanctions will snap back on Aug. 4," Hook said. "These sanctions will include targeting Iran's automotive sector, trade in gold and other key metals."
"Our remaining sanctions will snap back on Nov. 6," he added. "These sanctions will include targeting Iran's energy sector and petroleum-related transactions, and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran."
Hook explained that more than 50 international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market.
Besides automotive, metals, energy and petroleum sanctions, Hook said Iran can expect banking sanctions to snap back on Nov. 4.
These sanctions will aggressively enforce provisions to lock up Iran's assets overseas and deny the Iranian regime access to its hard currency.
In addition to building a campaign of strong economic pressure, Secretary Pompeo has also made it a priority to stand with the Iranian people, who are the longest-suffering victims of the Iranian regime.
"The average Iranian today is struggling to afford basics, like water, bread and eggs," said Hook. "At the same time, the Iranian regime is squandering millions of dollars on violent misadventures abroad. These serve no purpose other than to prolong pain and suffering of men, women and children in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East."
Meanwhile, experts say Iran's economy is getting worse.
On July 3, the rial was trading at 85,000 to the US dollar on the unofficial market. That is twice the official exchange rate of 42,500.
Hook noted that since the president's May 8 announcement to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the US has "designated two Iranian financial networks that support terrorism."
"One network involved a currency exchange scheme going through the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and we worked very closely and very well with the Emirati government to shut it down," Hook said.
"The other network involved the Iranian Central Bank governor and an Iraqi bank," he continued. "It is no wonder that international banks and firms refuse to enter the Iranian financial system."
"The Iranian people are becoming frustrated with the regime, and they are expressing their frustration in nationwide protests," Hook said.
The US has threatened close allies such as South Korea with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian imports by early November.
South Korea accounted for 14 percent of Iran's oil exports last year, according to the US Energy Department.
China is the largest importer of Iranian oil at 24 percent, followed by India at 18 percent.
Turkey stood at 9 percent and Italy at 7 percent.