WASHINGTON, DC — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the strategy President Donald Trump and his administration have pursued toward Iran has spared Americans.
“I know that the efforts that we have taken not only last week with the strike against [Qasem] Soleimani but the strategy that we’ve employed has saved American lives,” Pompeo told reporters during a press briefing at the U.S. State Department.
Pompeo also said that Iran’s terrorist activities are not limited to the Middle East.
“In Afghanistan there’s an aspect of that conflict that deserves more attention,” Pompeo said. “And that is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s involvement there.”
“Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, today, actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long, global effort to support militant groups there,” Pompeo said.
“Most people know about Iran’s proxy networks in the Arab world but the regime also has a relationship to the Taliban and other groups,” Pompeo said. “The Taliban entanglement in Iran’s dirty work will only harm the Afghanistan peace process.”
Reporters at the press conference were laser-focused on Soleimani’s death and asked Pompeo about its legality and the intelligence that showed an imminent threat to Americans and American interests.
Pompeo said Trump and his intelligence team “analyzed the risks and opportunities.”
“And we could see clearly not only had Soleimani done all of the things that we have recounted … a massacre in Syria,” Pompeo said. “Enormous destruction of countries like Lebanon and Iraq, where they’ve denied … people in those two countries sovereignty, independence, and freedom.”
“This is all Soleimani’s handiwork,” Pompeo said, adding that the death of Americans, linked to Iran’s support of terrorism, also played a role in the decision to eliminate him. “So if you’re looking for evidence you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani.”
He also said Trump’s move was “entirely legal.”
“It was the right decision,” Pompeo said. “We got it right.”
Pompeo also contrasted Trump’s foreign policy with former President Barack Obama’s approach.
“They chose to underwrite and appease,” Pompeo said. “We have chosen to confront and contain.”
“Those are different strategies,” Pompeo said. “We believe ours is successful.”
Pompeo said the strategy also reflects Trump’s America First agenda.
“In the end, our Iran policy is about protecting and defending the homeland and securing American lives,” Pompeo said.
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