This Week in Iran Policy
Office of the Spokesperson
August 22, 2020
"Our message is very, very simple: the United States will never allow the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo."
–Secretary Pompeo Remarks, August 20,2020
Statement by Secretary Pompeo On Designations for Iranian Human Rights Offenders, August 21.
Friday, August 21 marks the annual Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. To both remember and honor these victims, today the U.S. Department of State is announcing visa restrictions on 14 Iranian individuals for their involvement in gross violations of human rights on behalf of the Iranian regime, the world's leading state sponsor of terror. This action is taken pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, FY 2020, making ineligible for entry into the United States officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members about whom the Secretary of State has credible information of involvement in a gross violation of human rights. Their immediate family members are also ineligible for entry into the United States.
- These actions send a message of support to the Islamic Republic of Iran's many victims worldwide that we will promote accountability for those who spread terror and violence. The United States will continue to pressure Iran to treat its own people with dignity and respect. Iran conducts assassinations and terrorism abroad to spread its reign of terror well beyond its own borders. Today's action includes visa restrictions on 13 officials involved in a brutal and intricately planned assassination carried out in Switzerland in 1990 as part of Iran's ongoing worldwide terrorism campaign. These 13 assassins, who posed as Iranian diplomats, were acting under the highest orders of their government to silence opposition and show that no one is safe from the Iranian regime, no matter where they live. The United States will not stand for the Iranian regime silencing its critics through violence and terror.
- And it is not only abroad where the Iranian regime uses fear and violence to control Iranian citizens. We are also publicly designating Hojatollah Khodaei Souri, who as director of Iran's notorious Evin Prison, oversaw an institution synonymous with torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Evin Prison has been used to oppress peaceful Iranian protestors and journalists, as well as foreigners who are swept up and imprisoned to be held hostage to squeeze concessions out of their home governments.
- The United States looks forward to the day when the perpetrators of Iran's innumerable human rights violations will face true justice and hopes that these measures offer some comfort and reassurance to the families and friends of those lost to the Iranian regime's violence and oppression at home and abroad.
Secretary Pompeo remarks to the press at the United Nations, August 20.
Good afternoon, everyone. Just a few minutes ago, I delivered letters to both the UN Secretary-General Guterres and to the president of the Security Council.
I notified them that the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231. This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today.
Our message is very, very simple: the United States will never allow the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.
I'm pleased to say, too, that these restored sanctions will also reimpose accountability for other forms of Iranian malign activity that the authors of the nuclear deal foolishly downplayed. Iran will be again prohibited from ballistic missile testing. Iran will be back under sanctions for ongoing nuclear activities – such as the enrichment of nuclear material – that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.
This is happening, of course, at a moment when Iran is refusing to allow the IAEA to inspect sites suspected of undeclared nuclear activity, that were formerly part of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
President Trump and this administration have discarded the fiction that the regime merely seeks a peaceful nuclear program. We will never allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
Our actions today too should come as no surprise to anyone. Our team has made every diplomatic effort over now almost two years to renew this arms embargo. I want to thank the Dominican Republic for standing with us in this effort.
Our friends in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – the E3 – all told me privately that they don't want the arms embargo lifted either.
And yet today, in the end, they provided no alternatives, no options. No country but the United States had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with ayatollahs. Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, of Lebanon, of Syria – and indeed, their own citizens as well.
In stark contrast, the Gulf Cooperation Council nations deserve praise for showing courage and unity in warning about the danger from Iran.
Two weeks ago, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates sent a letter to the Security Council urging a renewal of the arms embargo before it expired in October.
As Iran's neighbors, they know better than anyone else the havoc that Iran could create with these weapons. Look, the world – and especially our European friends on the Security Council – should have heeded their words.
America won't join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead.
The leadership begins with recognizing the Islamic Republic of Iran for what it truly is: a theocratic, revolutionary, brutish regime that will not voluntarily seek peace or make life better for the Iranian people.
The one-sided, foolish nuclear deal didn't bring security for America, it didn't bring stability to the Middle East, nor did it moderate the regime's behavior – and it never can. It never will.
Today's actions puts additional pressure Iran to behave like a normal country, and to come back to the bargaining table.
We call on the international community to join us in crafting a stronger deal that addresses the full range of Iran's malign behavior, and protects people of all nations that simply want to live free from Iranian predation.
Thank you. Happy to take a few questions.
- For the entirety of the Question and Answer session, please see here.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Sandra Smith of America's Newsroom, FOX News, August 21, 2020
SECRETARY POMPEO: "Our message is very, very simple. The United States will never allow the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons."
QUESTION: That is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on U.S. efforts to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons, this as key U.S. allies reject the Trump administration's bid to reinstate sanctions suspended by the Iran nuclear deal. The UK, France, and Germany all saying the U.S. lacks legal authority to restore those measures since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018.Joining us now is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, an honor to have you here this morning. Thank you for being here. So you –
SECRETARY POMPEO: It's great to be with you. Thanks for having me on.
QUESTION: You are fresh off your trip to New York. That was your message to the UN Security Council on the world stage yesterday. How was it received?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I think that freedom-loving people all around the world know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been engaged in terror activity around the world now for four decades. And they ought not be allowed – on October 18th of this year under the foolish deal that was struck by the Obama-Biden administration, they ought not be allowed to buy and sell weapon systems that threaten Europe, that threaten the Middle East, that threaten our good friends in Israel. We're not going to let that happen. We have the capacity to stop it. We're going to use every diplomatic tool in our arsenal to prevent it from happening.
QUESTION: What was the rejection of our demands by our allies – what does that mean for us on the world stage as far as isolation?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Sandra, it's disappointing, because privately, every world leader, every one of my counterparts tells me that America is doing the right thing. No one has come to me and advocated for allowing Iran to have these weapon systems. And so for them not to stand up and tell the world publicly at the United Nations, yep, this is the right thing, it's incomprehensible to me. To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the UN, I think, is really dangerous for the world.But have faith: The American people should know that President Trump will always do the right thing. If it means we have to stand alone or lead, we're always going to do it. We will make sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't have the hundreds of billion dollars that would flow from being able to sell weapon systems to become an arms dealer around the world.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, retired four-star general Jack Keane was on our network a short time ago. In his words, Iran has doubled down on their bad behavior. And in the letter that you delivered to the Security Council at the UN yesterday, you wrote that Tehran has repeatedly violated the arms embargo by proliferating weapons to its partners and proxies throughout the Middle East region. What is the threat that Iran poses not just regionally, but around the world today?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I'm going to give you just a couple of simple examples. This is a country that's engaged in significant cyber attacks. They'd be allowed to now buy and sell tools that were connected to their cyber capability. This threatens not only the region, but the entire world. Don't forget there were passengers traveling on a commercial airline that the Iranians shot down flying into their airport killing hundreds of people – people from Canada, people from all across the world. Know the dangers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not confined to the harm they inflict on the Iranian people, the risk they present in the Middle East, or even to the dozens of efforts to conduct terror operations inside of Europe in just the last handful of years; they are a danger to the world. They have been for four decades and they ought not be permitted to buy and sell weapons.
QUESTION: As far as consequences for those countries that are not on board – Russia and China indicating that they would ignore the U.S. snapback – what will the consequences be? Are you considering further sanctions on them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Sandra, this reminds me of when President Trump made the decision with respect to the silly nuclear deal. He said we're not going to comply with it anymore and we put sanctions on – American sanctions in place. Though people said to us that'll never work, American sanctions alone will never impact the Islamic Republic of Iran, but of course, we've demonstrated over these three and a half years that that's false. We have decimated the amount of money that the Islamic Republic of Iran has to conduct terror campaigns. And when the UN sanctions come back into place, Russia and China can talk a good game today, but I assure you the United States will use every tool in its arsenal to make sure that the Chinese and the Russians are incapable of delivering weapon systems to Iran that threaten us, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that they don't get the money that comes alongside being a global arms dealer as well. Our sanctions will work, American efforts will work, and I am confident when that day comes, the world will be alongside of us as well, just as they have been in complying with our sanctions over these last three years.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary of State, we really appreciate you coming on this morning. Hope we can have you back soon. The hearing is underway on Capitol Hill. We're going to go to the postmaster general.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
QUESTION: Appreciate it. Please come back soon. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Bret Baier of Special Report with Bret Baier, august 19.
QUESTION: Let's get some insight now into the Iran issue, other situations around the globe. Joining us tonight, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, it's great to be with you. Thank you.
QUESTION: Just listened to your boss say that you need to go to the UN and get these snapback sanctions. You've said that you have every expectation that the UN Security Council will do that. What makes you think that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Bret, I'll head up to New York tomorrow, tomorrow afternoon. I'll meet with the UN Security Council president and then the secretary-general will provide notification of the snapback, and then 30 days from now all the sanctions that were in place will resume. They have been temporarily paused because of the ridiculous nuclear deal, and the world will be a safer place. The Iranians won't have the chance to have Russian air-defense systems, Chinese tanks, all the things that pose risk and instability in the Middle East. The Gulf states are all excited about – Israel is excited about it. It'll reduce their risk and it'll make Americans safer too.
QUESTION: So when China or Russia refuse, is the administration going to hold them accountable with sanctions too?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely. We have already done that. When we've seen any country violate our current sanctions, the current American sanctions, we've held every nation accountable for that. We'll do the same thing with respect to the broader UN Security Council sanctions as well.
QUESTION: What does it say when you tried to get the arms embargo extended on Iran that not one European ally stood with the United States?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, Bret, it's really unfortunate. It makes the European people less safe. Privately, these countries all tell me that they want this arms embargo extended. They want – they don't want Iran to have these weapons but they refuse to do the courageous thing, the morally right thing, and vote in support of extending it, all for some holy grail of the JCPOA. But the world needs to know – President Trump's made clear: We're going to do the right thing; we're going to keep the world safer. We hope that the Europeans will come to see it this way as well, but that will – whether the Europeans do or not, it's never stopped President Trump from protecting America and keeping us all safe.
QUESTION: So in that vein, I mean, can the U.S. work with the Europeans when it comes to Iran?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we have found places where we can do that already. So we've worked on – in the Straits of Hormuz, where we've jointly done good work to deter aggression there. So we've found pockets and places where we can. We have the same objectives; they just are wedded to this crazy nuclear deal. They're trying to hang onto it. President Trump's made clear they're not going to have a nuclear weapon. They should come alongside us and do the right thing for the world. And this is now the fifth anniversary – the first element of the JCPOA to expire. The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to be enormously anti-Semitic, wanting to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth, the largest state sponsor of terror. We're doing the right thing. We're going to get these UN sanctions put back in place and the world will be safer.
QUESTION: Just so people at home know, the JCPOA is the Iran nuclear deal. Do you think the Europeans, like the Germans, want to sell weapons to Iran?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I don't think that's it at all. I think they have some odd notion that somehow this is actually protecting and preserving some risk that the Iranians will begin their nuclear weapons program. It hasn't proven to do that. We've now, through the sanctions we've put in place tonight – over $200 billion to the Islamic Republic of Iran. That's fewer dollars to put missiles in place that could threaten places like London or Brussels or Germany. I think the people of Europe understand this is the right thing. I think their leaders do too. We'll lead the way.
QUESTION: Do you think the snapback, if in fact it goes forward, essentially kills the JCPOA, that that deal is done and then cannot be resurrected even if there is a president Biden?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, I know this: I know that the resolutions that were put in place and have been in place for, goodness, over a decade now will be back in effect. And so, yes, I think it's the case that all of the elements, all of the things that were waived, all of the things that Secretary Kerry and Wendy Sherman have wrought upon, the risks they've created in the Middle East and broader places will no longer be the case.
QUESTION: You mentioned Secretary Kerry. Last night he spoke at the DNC. One of the things he talked about was Iran. I'm going to play some things, have you react to them. Quickly, here's the first one on Iran: FORMER SECRETARY KERRY: For the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, we led by example. We eliminated the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon.
QUESTION: How about that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: That's just false. They didn't lead by example; they led from behind. That was their motto. President Trump leads from the front. He's prepared to take the courageous stands. They didn't stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon; indeed, they provided billions and billions of dollars so that Iran could continue their nuclear enrichment program and protect themselves from attack. They put themselves on a pathway to a nuclear weapon. That's what the deal did. We're going to prevent that pathway from continuing.
For the entirety of the Interview, please see here.
NY POST OPINION PIECE BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAN AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO SECRETARY POMPEO BRIAN HOOK AND SPECIAL ENVOT RO MONITOR AND COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM ELAN CARR, AUGUST 18.
- How Team Trump is combatting Iran's militant anti-Semitism: https://trib.al/byJTXbP
The United States Designates Mahan Air Facilitators, August 20.
- The United States continued its maximum pressure campaign against Iran by designating two companies and one individual for procuring parts for Mahan Air, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity. Mahan Air has a long record of ferrying weapons and terrorists around the world for Iran.
- The United States designated Parthia Cargo and Delta Parts, both based in the UAE, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for providing material support to Mahan Air, which is also designated pursuant to E.O. 13224. The United States also designated Amin Mahdavi, an Iranian national, under the same authority. The Department of Justice, meanwhile, filed a criminal complaint against Mahdavi and Parthia Cargo alleging that they facilitated shipment to Iran of U.S.-origin goods, including commercial aircraft parts, in violation of U.S. law.
- These designations serve as a reminder that individuals or companies who provide services for Mahan Air risk potential U.S. sanctions. We will continue our efforts until Iran behaves like a normal nation and ceases its malign activities.
- For additional information on this action, please see: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1098.
On U.S. Seizure of Iranian Gasoline Intended for the Illegitimate Maduro Regime, August 14.
- The Department of Justice announced the successful seizure of over one million barrels of Iranian gasoline intended for the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela. The proceeds from these shipments would have allegedly benefitted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
- Our diplomacy, led by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, was able to both halt these shipments and assist the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in executing a U.S. seizure order for the gasoline cargo issued on July 2, 2020. We note that the proceeds from the Iranian gasoline, if successfully forfeited in U.S. courts, could now support the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund instead of those engaging in terrorism, like the IRGC.
- We are seeing more and more global shipping fleets avoiding the Iran-Venezuela trade due to our sanctions implementation and enforcement efforts. The United States remains committed to our maximum pressure campaigns against the Iranian and Maduro regimes.
Secretary pompeo statement On the Security Council's Failure to Hold Iran Accountable, august 14.
- The United Nations Security Council is charged with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It failed today to uphold its fundamental mission set. It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific UN restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade. The Security Council's failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable.
- The Security Council rejected direct appeals to extend the arms embargo from numerous countries in the Middle East endangered by Iran's violence. Arab nations and Israel strongly supported extending the embargo. Last weekend, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council came together to ask the Security Council to extend the embargo. Israel also asked the Council to do the same to prevent Iran from expanding and modernizing its arsenal. These countries know Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires, but the Security Council chose to ignore them.
- The United States will never abandon our friends in the region who expected more from the Security Council. We will continue to work to ensure that the theocratic terror regime does not have the freedom to purchase and sell weapons that threaten the heart of Europe, the Middle East and beyond.
@SecPompeo Aug 21
Today marks the annual Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. Terrorists must be held accountable and today we announce visa restrictions on 14 Iranian individuals for their involvement in gross violations of human rights on behalf of the Iranian regime.
@StateDeputytSPOX Aug 21
Today @SecPompeo announced designations including 13 operatives involved in the brutal 1990 assassination carried out in Switzerland on behalf of the Iranian Regime. The U.S. will not stand for the Iranian regime's terrorism at home and abroad.
@StateDeputytSPOX Aug 21
Today @SecPompeo met with Niger's UN Ambassador Abdou Abarry, who will serve as President of the @UN Security Council next month while Member States consider the important issue of extending sanctions on Iran.
@SecPompeo Aug 21
I notified the @UN Secretary-General and the Security Council President that the U.S. is initiating the restoration of virtually all sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Those sanctions will go back into effect in 30 days. America will not appease.
@SecPompeo Aug 21
Grateful to the Dominican Republic for standing with the United States and voting to extend the arms embargo on Iran at the @UN Security Council. We appreciate their support as we work to prevent Iran from gaining access to new and powerful weapons.
@StateDeputytSPOX Aug 20
The Islamic Republic is the world's chief state sponsor of anti-Semitism. Jew-hatred is core to its ideology. This administration will not let it stand. Read Brian Hook and @USEAntiSemitism Elan Carr's op-ed in @NYPostOpinion
@SecPompeo Aug 20
Make no mistake: the @UN Security Council failed to hold Iran accountable, enabled the world's top state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell deadly weapons, and ignored the demands of countries in the Middle East. In New York today, America will correct these errors.
@SecPompeo Aug 20
The process to re-impose sanctions on Iran begins. Today I hand-delivered a letter to @UN Security Council President Dian Triansyah Djani to formally notify the Council of something we all know too well–Iran's failure to meet its commitments under the terrible nuclear deal.
@SecPompeo Aug 20
The prior administration left no doubt that the U.S. has the ability to snap back sanctions on Iran. That's what we intend to do. As President @realDonaldTrump said, we will not continue down a path whose predictable end is more violence, terror, and a nuclear armed Iran.
@SecPompeo Aug 19
Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime continues. Today, we designated two entities and one individual for providing material support to Mahan Air. If you do business with a designated global terrorist entity, you run the risk of being sanctioned.
@StateDeputytSPOX Aug 19
At the direction of @realDonaldTrump, @SecPompeo will travel to New York on August 20-21 to initiate the process that will restore @UN sanctions on Iran. Thirty days after the Secretary's notification, a range of UN sanctions will be restored.
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