Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with VOA Persian Director Setareh Seig Thursday afternoon to debate the Trump administration’s plans for a brand new safety framework geared toward ending Iran’s nuclear program. Additionally they mentioned current protests in Iran, and the administration’s efforts to free Individuals being held by the federal government.
Setareh: Secretary Pompeo, thanks very a lot for doing this interview with us.
Pompeo: It’s fantastic to be with you.
Query: As Secretary of State, you selected Iran as [the subject of] your first main overseas coverage speech. Why Iran? Is it due to the urgency or the significance of it?
Pompeo: I feel it’s each. It’s one thing that the President has considered as a critical risk to Center East stability and due to this fact to American nationwide safety and it additionally seems to be on the place that the Iranian folks discover themselves, and he thinks it’s a spot America may also help make a distinction. He has lengthy thought that the settlement that the earlier administration entered into didn’t serve any of these pursuits – the pursuits of the Iranian folks or Center East stability or, frankly, for America. And so it was a precedence for him and thus I needed within the first weeks because the Secretary of State to have a chance to put out how President Trump thinks we will make issues higher in every of these three conditions.
Query: What’s the final objective of the proposed new safety framework, and the way is it completely different – how does it differ from the preliminary JCPOA?
Pompeo: Yeah, so very completely different. Completely different in breadth and I feel completely different in its objective. The primary settlement was very slim. It was an effort to say that the Iranian regime was spending a ton of cash on its nuclear program and it needed to halt that – a noble goal, a superb objective, a worthy one. However the risk that Iran presents is a lot better than that, proper. They’re taking – they’re launching missiles into Muslim nations. They’re taking the human rights away from their folks.
All of these items I feel President Trump cares deeply about, and so his imaginative and prescient is that if we start once more to set out what we predict are fairly fundamental concepts, proper. So these 12 issues that I listed are all fairly simple. We’re not asking loads from the Iranian management, simply behave like regular leaders; don’t loot your folks, don’t waste your folks’s cash on these adventures in Syria and Yemen and in Lebanon and in Iraq, the listing goes on; lead your folks, construct an amazing nation, use the assets you will have for that. That’s all we’re merely searching for.
Query: Is that going to be a part of the brand new proposed safety framework that Iran would cease or ought to cease meddling in different nations’ affairs?
Pompeo: Yeah, so we’ve requested for that. Look, we’ve requested them to cease spreading terror all over the world, to not construct out militias in Iraq, to not put Iranian and Iranian residents, who’re dropping their lives in Syria – it’s inappropriate for Center East safety and it’s unhealthy for the nation. So our intention is to set circumstances the place Iran will behave like a traditional nation, proper. And in the event that they try this, in the event that they – and this isn’t the Iranian folks – that is the Iranian leaders who’ve taken management and achieved this injury. If we will create circumstances the place they’ll cease that, the Iranian folks may have nice success, and we may have Individuals visiting there, and we’ll have all the nice issues that we do when there are mates and allies versus of us who’re presenting danger to our nation.
Query: I’m going to get to the human rights problem additionally, sir. But when I’ll, I need to proceed on the safety framework if potential. How a few requirement for Iran to let inspections within the army websites? Is that going to be a part of additionally the framework?
Pompeo: So it’s. With respect to using nuclear materials in Iran, simply as we’ve in Saudi Arabia, simply as we did with the United Arab Emirates, we don’t consider it’s applicable for Iran to have the capability to create fissile materials, to counterpoint uranium or have a plutonium facility. If they need a peaceable nuclear power program, positive, however they might import that materials. And different nations do it; it really works for a lot of nations all over the world. And to ensure that us to attain that, to get snug that that’s the case, there must be inspections. That would come with inspections at army websites and analysis laboratories and all of the locations that had been members in earlier iterations of Iran’s program.
Query: And also you talked about human rights. There are protests, anti-government protests, throughout Iran. I needed to get your tackle that. What do you – how do you are feeling about these protests? And do you suppose that america can perhaps assist the protestors?
Pompeo: We are able to actually present ethical assist. I feel importantly, the Iranian folks will make these selections for themselves. These protests have been ongoing now for months and months – a few of them very small, a few of them bigger – typically very a lot in sync with what I laid out this previous week, their – how this wealth will get distributed to Qasem Soleimani and never the peculiar citizen in southeast Iran or in Tehran or wherever it could be. This wealth is being squandered in order that peculiar Iranian residents are each sending their younger males off to battle and die and residing lives that aren’t as safe and as rich as they may very well be if Iran would merely change its conduct.
So it’s not about – you requested about regime change. It’s not about altering the regime. It’s about altering the conduct of the management in Iran to comport with what the Iranian folks really need them to do.
Query: So it’s what earlier John Bolton had stated, that the objective of the administration just isn’t regime change in Iran?
Pompeo: That’s right. Sure, ma’am.
Query: And the way do you are feeling in regards to the opposition teams in america and in Europe? Do you assist their efforts?
Pompeo: Sure. They need to be – as long as they’re working in direction of the identical objective that we’re. I’ve seen every so often that wasn’t all the time the case with among the teams, among the smaller teams, frankly. As long as they’re working in direction of the identical factor. We don’t need them advocating for regime change both. We would like them engaged on behalf of the Iranian folks, peculiar Iranian residents who need nothing greater than to dwell their lives, to have the ability to take their hijab off, to have the ability to go to work and lift their households and worship in the way in which they need to worship. That is for the Iranian folks to do, and so if there are these on the surface who’re working in direction of that objective, we actually welcome it.
Query: Mr. Secretary, two years in the past as a congressman you personally needed to go to Iran, you had been ready to go to Iran, and also you needed to press the management – Khamenei and Zarif – to present you entry to the American hostages. As Secretary, are you going to press the Iranian management once more to free the American hostages? And as , Bob Levinson disappeared greater than 11 years in the past.
Pompeo: I do know the story of Mr. Levinson effectively. I pray for his protected return, and our staff works for it day-after-day. As for the opposite Individuals, we hope that the Iranian management – Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Zarif, Ayatollah – all would see that it’s of their finest pursuits to – and for nothing greater than fundamental humanity – to permit these harmless Individuals to return to their households. There are huge, huge points on the market, nevertheless it appears fairly fundamental to me that one ought not maintain harmless folks from returning to their family members.
So sure, we’ll work on it. We’ll pray for it. And we hope that at some point, in the identical method that we had been blessed to have three Individuals return from North Korea a number of weeks previous, we’ve that very same form of day for these which can be being held by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Query: I needed to ask you in regards to the chants, the slogans that we nonetheless hear inside Iran: “Dying to America,” and “Dying to Israel.”Earlier than any kind of settlement that Iran or Tehran and america would have about Iran, don’t you suppose that it ought to be a requirement for Iran to cease that?
Pompeo: Yeah, their leaders most particularly. In America, folks say every kind of issues. We have now a wide-open democracy. There are individuals who like President Trump and who don’t. I discover that simply positive. I’m untroubled by that.
When you will have senior leaders, when you will have others fomenting these form of pretend gatherings to do nothing however come after and speak – chant, “Dying to America” or “Dying to Israel,” the Iranian management must cease. They must cease that as a result of it’s not the correct factor for his or her folks.
I feel most Iranians – I feel most Iranians take a look at what we’ve been capable of accomplish right here in America and the way blessed we’ve been, and suppose that that’s a mannequin that works within the sense of we’ll actually undertake a unique type of democracy, and we’ll have a unique type of authorities, and we’ll have completely different values and beliefs throughout a sure set of issues, we’ll have completely different religions, and that – that’s all positive. However the fundamental frequent understanding of humanity, that you simply deal with each human being with dignity and respect, that you simply don’t export violence all over the world, that you simply don’t steal and plunder out of your folks, these core values which can be civilizational, they’re historic – I feel the Iranian folks share these in the identical method that the American folks do.
Query: Mr. Secretary, I need to return to one thing that you simply stated, a part of your speech. You pressured that – pressured, and also you simply talked about it, that “no extra wealth creation for Iranian kleptocrats.” What’s your tackle congressional efforts to reveal the hidden wealth of the corrupt leaders of Iran, from Ayatollah Khamenei to the president? And if there may be such a invoice that may cross Congress, would the administration assist this publicity?
Pompeo: We’d. We predict it’s essential. It’s simply as essential as an informational matter. The Iranian folks deserve the reality. You’ve got senior leaders which can be pocketing cash, utilizing companies which can be nominally fronts, and admittedly, simply stealing. To the extent we will show that and reveal that, I’d welcome the prospect to reveal it so the Iranian folks can decide for themselves whether or not these are the people they need to lead their nation.
Setareh: Mr. Secretary, thanks very a lot.
Pompeo: Thanks very a lot, ma’am. It was nice to be with you.
Setareh: We respect it very, very a lot.