Pompeo on Sanctions: Iran Will Not Doubt “Our Seriousness”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a forceful speech at the Heritage Foundation on Monday, outlining the Trump administration’s position on Iran now that the nuclear agreement has become a relic of the past.
Pompeo said that he was thrilled to be done with the misbegotten deal, which allowed Iran to expand its power beyond its borders while only delaying temporarily their bomb-seeking ambitions. Now that the deal is finished (at least as far as the United States is concerned), Pompeo said, the U.S. can get down to the business of holding Iran accountable for its terrorist-supporting activities and its peace-threatening missile program.
“President Trump withdrew from the deal for a simple reason: it failed to guarantee the safety of the American people from the risk created by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said. “No more. No more wealth creation for Iranian kleptocrats. No more acceptance of missiles landing in Riyadh and in the Golan Heights. No more cost-free expansions of Iranian power. No more.”
Pompeo said that the flaws of the nuclear agreement were many. It “merely delayed the inevitable nuclear weapons capability of the Iranian regime,” he said, while pumping billions of dollars of frozen funds and new business capital into the empire’s economy. Furthermore, the checks outlined in the deal were not sufficient to keep Iran from cheating, Tehran was funneling money freed up from the agreement to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, and the Obama administration failed to secure the release of four Americans still held in Iranian prisons.
Pompeo said the Trump administration would be guided by a three-pronged policy as it pertains to Iran.
“First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness,” he warned. “Thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect and new ones are coming.
“Second,” he continued, “I will work closely with the Department of Defense and our regional allies to deter Iranian aggression. We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region. We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.
“Third, we will also advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people,” he said. “The regime must improve how it treats its citizens. It must protect the human rights of every Iranian. It must cease wasting Iran’s wealth abroad.”
Pompeo made no mention of a military option if Iran rejected American attempts to rein in its violent ambitions, but the threat was present between the lines in every word of his speech. Hopefully, it won’t come to that; the last thing the U.S. needs is another expansive Middle Eastern conflict. At the same time, it won’t do to put our heads in the sand and pretend we have made an ally – reluctant or otherwise – out of a country that has designs on global domination. The end of the Iran nuclear deal is a step towards sanity; hopefully, we can put enough pressure on the regime’s Islamic leaders that they are forced to take that step as well.