Pompeo: The world's a safer place today

In TV interview, Pompeo comments on Soleimani elimination: This was a bad guy. We took him off the playing field.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the world “is a safer place today” following the elimination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

“It’s very clear the world’s a safer place today. Qassem Soleimani no longer walks the planet. You know the history: hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, millions of refugees; Lebanon, Beirut, Syria, Iraq, Yemen; deaths to Americans in Iraq in the earlier war. This was a bad guy. We took him off the playing field,” Pompeo said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News.

Soleimani, he added, “was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America and putting American lives at risk. President Trump made the right decision to stop Qassem Soleimani from the terror campaign that he’d been engaged in against America not only five years ago and ten years ago, but on December 27th, when an American was killed by Kata’ib Hezbollah at the orchestrated direction of Qassem Soleimani, and to prevent the future plans that the terrorist Soleimani had in front of him.”

“The world is a safer place. We’re taking the actions that we need to take to protect American interests not only in Baghdad and in Iraq but throughout the region,” stressed Pompeo.

Asked if the Trump administration’s strategy vis-à-vis Iran is working, Pompeo replied, “Absolutely, George. Remember what happened during this terrible nuclear deal: hundreds of thousands killed in Syria; Shia militias, the ones that we’re fighting today, underwritten, resource growing, taking control in places like Iraq; missiles fired from Yemen that could easily have killed Americans when they attacked on September 14th. All of these things – these things were ongoing activities resourced and funded by the trade and the money that was provided under the JCPOA.”

He noted that as of October the Iran nuclear deal “will permit arms trade with Iran. That’s crazy. That’s crazy – have missiles and systems – high-end systems, from China and Russia in Iran lawfully in October. That was the deal we inherited. It’s the place we found ourselves, and we’re working diligently to execute our strategy to convince the Iranian regime to act like a normal nation. The Iranian people are demanding it. We’re supporting it, and we will be successful.”

“In the past, previous administrations had allowed Shia militias to take shots at us, and at best, we responded in theater, trying to challenge and attack everybody who was running around with an AK-47 or a piece of indirect artillery. We’ve made a very different approach. We’ve told the Iranian regime enough. You can’t get away with using proxy forces and think your homeland will be safe and secure. We’re going to respond against the actual decision makers, the people who are causing this threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. We’re going to take this seriously, and we’re going to defend the American people at every turn,” stressed Pompeo.

“The American people should know that every target that we strike will be a lawful target, and it will be a target designed at the singular mission of protecting and defending America. President Trump has been diligent about that. He doesn’t want war. He’s talked about this repeatedly. He is a reluctant participant in this, but he will never shy away from protecting America.”

Pompeo rejected criticism from former Vice President Joe Biden who said that any further action against Iran requires Congressional authorization.

“Boy, it’s really something to hear the vice president from the previous administration be critical of this administration’s policy of Iran. We’re having to clean up their mess, George. We’ll do everything required under the law to bring us into compliance with all the relevant constitutional and legal provisions with respect to our duties to the legislative branch,” he said.



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