Pompeo: Iran won’t have a nuclear weapon on our watch

Secretary of State says Trump will only meet Iranian President if "he thinks we can get an improved outcome for the American people."

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday stressed in an interview on Fox News that the Trump administration will ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

Pompeo was asked by the interviewer, Chris Wallace, about Iran’s announcement that it is going to use advanced centrifuges that will allow it to enrich uranium faster in violation of the nuclear deal.

“President Trump has been very clear. Iran won’t have a nuclear weapon on our watch. We’ll stop it. He’s made clear we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that that’s the case,” he replied.

The Secretary of State criticized the 2015 nuclear deal which was reached during the Obama administration, saying, “The challenge is, of course, we came in after the previous administration had given the Islamic Republic of Iran, the ayatollah, given him billions of dollars in economic wealth with which to build these very programs. And as you see, Chris, they can turn them back on like that. One of the central failures of the JCPOA is that whatever limits there were could be turned back on in a minute. We see this, right? They make an announcement; the next thing you know, they’re spinning centrifuges at higher and higher enrichment rates. This was a crazy failed deal.”

“And so our approach has been very different: build out alliances with the Gulf states, with Israel, with all the partners around the world who understand the threat of nuclear weapons inside of the Middle East, inside of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to reduce their capacity to execute that. And we’ve done it,” continued Pompeo.

“We can see it with Hezbollah. They have fewer resources. We can see it with the Shia militias in Iraq. They’re scrambling for resources. We think the Iranian Government will shrink, that their GDP will shrink by as much as 12 or 14 percent this year. This will reduce their capacity to purchase the things they need, the equipment they need, the materials they need, to inflict terror around the world. That’s President Trump’s approach. I think we’ve been very successful so far,” he added.

Pompeo also addressed the issue of a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, possibly at the UN General Assembly later this month.

While Trump stated that there is a "very good chance" he will meet Rouhani, the Iranian President made clear that he will not meet Trump unless all sanctions against Tehran are unilaterally lifted by the US.

“Here’s how I know we’ll think about it. President Trump will think about whether it’s appropriate to meet based on whether he thinks we can get an improved outcome for the American people. He has said he’d meet with him with no preconditions. I know the to’s and fro’s inside the Iranian Government: There are those who think it’s wise to meet; there are those who just want to continue to kill people around the world,” said Pompeo.

“We need to make sure that we’re doing all we can to make those that understand that the revolutionary nature of the Iranian regime is unacceptable, that they’ve got to change their behavior, and that America will never permit them to have a nuclear weapon, those inside of Iran that understand that, and I think that’s the majority of the Iranian people as well. Those are the folks who we want to make sure and talk to so that we ultimately get the right outcome,” he added.

“We want a successful Iran. We want them to be part of the community of nations. You can’t do that when you’re building missiles that threaten Europe, threaten Israel, and building out systems that could ultimately create a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo clarified.