National Security

Pompeo on Iran Sanctions: ‘Toughest’ That Have ‘Ever’ Been Placed on the Regime

Secretary of state also says on Sunday morning he's 'confident' that country will not restart its nuclear program

Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images & Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed in multiple interviews on Sunday news programs that the U.S. Treasury and State departments will reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran beginning at midnight tonight.

“The Treasury has a set of sanctions, the State Department has its own set of sanctions, and those will all come back into place on Monday of this week — and they’ll be the toughest sanctions ever placed against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo told John Dickerson of “Face the Nation” on CBS. (Pompeo is shown above left; at right is Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs.)

European leaders may soon follow suit on this.

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Despite their criticism of the Trump administration’s efforts to derail economic support for the world’s largest exporter of state-sponsored terrorism by putting a stranglehold on its ability to export oil and easily conduct financial transactions, European leaders are also considering sanctions following terror plots and assassination attempts, Fox News reported Saturday.

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“There [are] a handful of places where countries have already made significant reductions in their crude oil exports [and] need a little bit more time to get to zero, and we’re going to provide that to them,” Pompeo told Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday.”

“The march to zero continues,” he also said on that program, referring to the overarching goal of eliminating Iran’s income from crude oil.

Pompeo declined to answer directly whether China and India have committed to reducing their imports of crude oil to zero in the next six months, however. “We’ve already taken more crude oil off the market than [at] any time in previous history,” he said.

The significant reductions already realized, Pompeo noted, have taken place while simultaneously ensuring “American consumers don’t suffer.”

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He explained the goal and mission of the policy are to ensure a change in Iran’s behavior. “The Iranian banks that engage in sanctionable behavior will be sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury. Period. Full stop,” Pompeo told Wallace of some GOP lawmakers’ concerns that the White House is not doing enough in this regard.

Pompeo also addressed the meaning of President Donald Trump’s Friday tweet of a poster saying, “Sanctions Are Coming November 5” on the Sunday morning news programs.

The poster depicted a resolute-looking President Trump.

The font and wording of the “Sanctions Are Coming” title appear to reflect the “Game of Thrones” series’ well-known “Winter is Coming” motto of House Stark.

“We’re confident that the Iranians will not make that decision,” said Pompeo on CBS in answer to host John Dickerson’s hypothetical question about what would happen if Iran restarts its nuclear program in response to the upcoming sanctions.

“Much of the harm that’s taking place [in Yemen] comes from the fact [that] Iranians continue to supply weapons and missiles to the Huthi rebels,” Pompeo also told Wallace, referencing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Pompeo — as well as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis — have called for a ceasefire and negotiations within 30 days between U.S.-backed Saudi forces and rebels inside Yemen. Reports estimate that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen now involves at least 14 million Yemeni people currently suffering from famine or on the brink of it. Pompeo called the situation “tragic.”

Iran is not the only global hot spot Secretary Pompeo is contending with by any measure.

He’ll be meeting with North Korean counterpart Kim Yong-Chol in New York City later in the week ahead.

Pompeo reaffirmed the U.S. position that it will not lift economic sanctions against them until our country can verify North Korea’s complete denuclearization.

“President Trump has made his position very clear — no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

On the death of Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Pompeo said the United States continues to work with Turkish and Saudi governments and others involved.

“The Saudis have acknowledged that this was a premeditated attack,” said Pompeo on “Fox News Sunday.”

The secretary of state met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about three weeks ago in Riyadh following Khashoggi’s death.

“We will continue to work to maintain that important, strategic relationship while holding accountable those responsible for this atrocious death,” he added.

On the nature of the U.S.’s crucial and strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, Pompeo emphasized on “Face the Nation” that the kingdom “has been an important partner for the United States in attempting to change the behavior the world’s largest state sponsor of terror from that Islamic republic.”

“The president’s made it very clear: [The migrant caravan travelers] will not be permitted to enter our country unlawfully.”

On the domestic front, Pompeo offered brief comments about the migrant caravans making their way through Central America and Mexico to our country’s southern border.

“The president’s made it very clear: [The migrant caravan travelers] will not be permitted to enter our country unlawfully,” he said flatly on “Face the Nation.”

“Never once has there been a discussion of the political impact in U.S. domestic politics,” he added, eschewing Dickerson’s assertions that President Trump’s decision to send troops to secure our southern border was politically motivated.

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Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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