US to apply economic pressure until Iran stops behavior: White House official

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The United States plans on punishing Iran economically until the regime either stops its behavior or changes its ways, a senior White House official told Al Arabiya as protests in Iran intensify over an increase in fuel prices.

“We're just now entering into the point which they've had sustained maximum economic pressure since May. Oil sales well below what they need to fund their operations. They're in the process of submitting a budget they can't possibly begin to fund,” the senior White House official said.

The official then said that the economic pressure felt by Iran is only “now starting to become political pressure.”

Riot police and security forces clashed with demonstrators in Tehran and dozens of cities across Iran on Saturday, Iranian news agencies and social media said, as protests against a rise in gasoline prices turned political.

The White House official who spoke to Al Arabiya said that the Iranian regime would have to make a “very difficult” choice regarding their future.

“Economic pressure is the door. We walk through that door and on the other side of that door is political pressure. This is now where the Iranians have to make some very difficult decisions they never had to make before because they never had this degree of economic pressure, since 1979,” the official said.

“We think now we've created an opportunity that was nonexistent before. Everyone's imposed sanctions on Iran in the past. No one has done it on the scope and scale we have done, and we believe that this is, as opposed to violence, that this is the path that we believe is going to productive,” the official added.

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