SECRETARY POMPEO: “Our message is very, very simple. The United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons.”
QUESTION: That is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on U.S. efforts to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons, this as key U.S. allies reject the Trump administration’s bid to reinstate sanctions suspended by the Iran nuclear deal. The UK, France, and Germany all saying the U.S. lacks legal authority to restore those measures since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018.
Joining us now is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, an honor to have you here this morning. Thank you for being here. So you —
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s great to be with you. Thanks for having me on.
QUESTION: You are fresh off your trip to New York. That was your message to the UN Security Council on the world stage yesterday. How was it received?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I think that freedom-loving people all around the world know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been engaged in terror activity around the world now for four decades. And they ought not be allowed – on October 18th of this year under the foolish deal that was struck by the Obama-Biden administration, they ought not be allowed to buy and sell weapon systems that threaten Europe, that threaten the Middle East, that threaten our good friends in Israel. We’re not going to let that happen. We have the capacity to stop it. We’re going to use every diplomatic tool in our arsenal to prevent it from happening.
QUESTION: What was the rejection of our demands by our allies – what does that mean for us on the world stage as far as isolation?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Sandra, it’s disappointing, because privately, every world leader, every one of my counterparts tells me that America is doing the right thing. No one has come to me and advocated for allowing Iran to have these weapon systems. And so for them not to stand up and tell the world publicly at the United Nations, yep, this is the right thing, it’s incomprehensible to me. To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the UN, I think, is really dangerous for the world.
But have faith: The American people should know that President Trump will always do the right thing. If it means we have to stand alone or lead, we’re always going to do it. We will make sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran doesn’t have the hundreds of billion dollars that would flow from being able to sell weapon systems to become an arms dealer around the world.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, retired four-star general Jack Keane was on our network a short time ago. In his words, Iran has doubled down on their bad behavior. And in the letter that you delivered to the Security Council at the UN yesterday, you wrote that Tehran has repeatedly violated the arms embargo by proliferating weapons to its partners and proxies throughout the Middle East region.
What is the threat that Iran poses not just regionally, but around the world today?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’m going to give you just a couple of simple examples. This is a country that’s engaged in significant cyber attacks. They’d be allowed to now buy and sell tools that were connected to their cyber capability. This threatens not only the region, but the entire world. Don’t forget there were passengers traveling on a commercial airline that the Iranians shot down flying into their airport killing hundreds of people – people from Canada, people from all across the world. Know the dangers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not confined to the harm they inflict on the Iranian people, the risk they present in the Middle East, or even to the dozens of efforts to conduct terror operations inside of Europe in just the last handful of years; they are a danger to the world. They have been for four decades and they ought not be permitted to buy and sell weapons.
QUESTION: As far as consequences for those countries that are not on board – Russia and China indicating that they would ignore the U.S. snapback – what will the consequences be? Are you considering further sanctions on them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Sandra, this reminds me of when President Trump made the decision with respect to the silly nuclear deal. He said we’re not going to comply with it anymore and we put sanctions on – American sanctions in place. Though people said to us that’ll never work, American sanctions alone will never impact the Islamic Republic of Iran, but of course, we’ve demonstrated over these three and a half years that that’s false. We have decimated the amount of money that the Islamic Republic of Iran has to conduct terror campaigns.
And when the UN sanctions come back into place, Russia and China can talk a good game today, but I assure you the United States will use every tool in its arsenal to make sure that the Chinese and the Russians are incapable of delivering weapon systems to Iran that threaten us, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that they don’t get the money that comes alongside being a global arms dealer as well. Our sanctions will work, American efforts will work, and I am confident when that day comes, the world will be alongside of us as well, just as they have been in complying with our sanctions over these last three years.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary of State, we really appreciate you coming on this morning. Hope we can have you back soon. The hearing is underway on Capitol Hill. We’re going to go to the postmaster general.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
QUESTION: Appreciate it. Please come back soon. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. Thank you.