Pompeo Calls on Iran Leaders to Stop ‘Looting their People’

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged on Friday the leaders of Iran to stop “looting” their own people and to cease wasting those funds in “adventures” in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq,

In an interview with Voice of America Persian, he accused the Iranian regime of developing ballistic missiles and firing them against Muslim countries.

“We’ve asked them to stop spreading terror around the world, not to build out militias in Iraq, not to put Iranian dollars and Iranian citizens, who are losing their lives in Syria – it’s inappropriate for Middle East security and it’s bad for the country.”

Asked why he chose to address Iran during his first speech on foreign policy, Pompeo replied that it stemmed from President Donald Trump’s belief that it poses a “serious threat to Middle East stability and therefore to American national security.”

Trump “thinks it’s a place America can help make a difference,” he went on to say.

Commenting on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal struck with world powers, he said that it did not serve the interests of the Iranian people, stability in the Middle East or even US interests.

Trump pulled out from the deal on May 8 and, on Monday, Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran to change its behavior.

“I wanted in the first weeks to have an opportunity to lay out how Trump thinks we can make things better” with Iran and for the Middle East and US interests, he said.

“The first nuclear agreement was very narrow. It was an effort to say that the Iranian regime was spending a ton of money on its nuclear program and it wanted to halt that – a noble objective, a good goal, a worthy one. But the threat that Iran presents is so much greater than that, … they’re launching missiles into Muslim countries. They’re taking the human rights away from their people,” he continued.

“All of these things I think Trump cares deeply about, and so his vision is that if we begin again to set out what we think are pretty basic ideas. So these 12 things that I listed are all pretty straightforward.”

“We’re not asking a lot from the Iranian leadership, just behave like normal leaders,” Pompeo stressed.

Asked about the possibility of Iran pursuing nuclear ambitions in the future, he replied: “We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Iran to have the capacity to create fissile material, to enrich uranium or have a plutonium facility.”

“If they want a peaceful nuclear energy program, fine, but they could import that material. And other countries do it; it works for many countries around the world.”

“In order for us to achieve that, to get comfortable that that’s the case, there will have to be inspections. That would include inspections at military sites and research laboratories and all the places that had been participants in previous iterations of Iran’s program,” Pompeo explained.

Addressing the internal situation in Iran, he remarked: “Protests have been ongoing now for months and months – some of them very small, some of them larger – often very much in sync with what I laid out this past week, their – how this wealth gets distributed to (Iranian Revolutionary Guards – Quds Force commander) Qasem Soleimani and not the ordinary citizen in southeast Iran or in Tehran or wherever it might be.”

“This wealth is being squandered so that ordinary Iranian citizens are both sending their young men off to fight and die and living lives that aren’t as secure and as wealthy as they could be if Iran would simply change its behavior.”

Pompeo also denied that his conditions were aimed at achieving regime change in Iran, saying: “It’s about changing the behavior of the leadership in Iran to comport with what the Iranian people really want them to do.”

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