The US is putting together a coalition of countries that will push back Iran's nuclear weapons programme and its alleged destabilising behaviour in the region, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today.
"We are going to put together a coalition that pushes back against not only Iran's nuclear program which they still deny. No Iranian leader has admitted they had a weapons program, and the facts are now public that they did. They ought to at least be honest about that," Pompeo told CBS's 'Face the Nation'.
"But it's not going to just be the nuclear file. It will be their missile program. It will be their effort to build Hizballah. It'll be their threats against Israel. It'll be the work that they're doing in Yemen to launch missiles into Saudi Arabia, for goodness sakes, he said.
This is the activity that the Iranian regime has undertaken during the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, which was negotiated during the previous Obama Administration.
We're going to make a shift. We're going to deny them the benefit of the economic wealth that has been created and put real pressure, so that they'll stop the full scale of the sponsorship of terrorism with which they've been engaged in these past years, Pompeo said.
We will be hard at that in the weeks ahead. I hope to be a central part of achieving that. It would be a wonderful thing if we could get the Europeans to do this.
Fundamentally, what's happened during the time of the JCPOA was that the Iranian wealth creation fueled their malign behavior. The money that they had to go and launch missiles into Riyadh and Israel putting Americans at risk was provided by the economic benefits they got from the JCPOA. President Trump wants to starve them of that wealth, Pompeo said.
In another interview to Fox News, Pompeo strongly pushed back on the notion that US withdrawal from the nuclear deal makes it less constrained now. That's ludicrous, he said.
That's ludicrous to suggest that Iran feels less constrained when during the JCPOA they have now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh, they've now fired missiles into Israel; to suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that's taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise of Hizballah - all of those things took place during the JCPOA, Pompeo said.
Indeed, I would argue that they felt they could act with impunity. They watched. They watched Europe put exactly zero sanctions on their missile program during the JCPOA. I think Rouhani and Zarif need to explain why it's the case that while this agreement was in place Iran continued its march across the Middle East, he asserted.
The wealth that was created in Iran as a result of the JCPOA drove Iranian malign activity. It fueled Qasem Soleimani. It fueled the IRGC. It provided resources for their work in Syria and Iraq. President Trump's withdrawal is aimed at denying them that wealth, denying them the resources to continue their bad behavior, to take the money away from them, he said.
The withdrawal wasn't aimed at the Europeans, he said.
"I worked hard over the short time I've been the Secretary of State to try and fix the deal. We couldn't reach agreement with our E3 partners. I am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program but their missiles and their malign behavior as well, Pompeo added.
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