Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded on Sunday to Iranian threats toward the United States in response to the U.S. military killing Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani by saying that the U.S. is prepared for whatever Iran does, and is prepared to hit back harder.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press,” Pompeo said that the U.S. was “prepared for everything” in response to a question about Iran retaliating against the United States.
“We’ve all known about Qasem Soleimani for a long time,” Pompeo said. “He’s been a terrorist. He’s a designated terrorist. He’s someone who’s inflicted many deaths on Americans, over 600 in Iraq and countless other places.”
“He was even connected to what happened in Beirut so many years ago,” Pompeo continued. “This was different in the sense of we’d seen recent deaths, recent killings. On December 27th a strike, an operation conducted by Kataeb Hezbollah, directed and orchestrated by Soleimani himself – killed an American. We could see that he was continuing down this path; that there were in fact plots that he was working on that were aimed directly at significant harm to American interests throughout the region, not just in Iraq. President Trump made the decision this was the time to stop this reign of terror.”
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper, Pompeo noted that the strike was an effort to “restore deterrence that frankly is a need that results directly from the fact that the previous administration left us in a terrible place with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“Team Obama appeased Iran, and it led to Shia militias with money,” Pompeo continued. “Hamas, the PIJ, hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed by Soleimani himself. This was the place we found ourselves when we came in, and we have developed a strategy to [attempt to] convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation – that’s what our strategy is about. We have been executing it, we will continue to do so. We have every expectation that we will ultimately achieve that goal.”
Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” that “it’s very clear the world’s a safer place today. Qasem 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, death to Americans in Iraq in the earlier war,” Pompeo continued. “This was a bad guy. We took him off the playing field, and that’s important because this was a fellow who was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America – putting American lives at risk. President Trump made the right decision to stop Qasem Soleimani from the terror campaign that he’d been engaged in against America.”
"It's very clear the world is a safer place today. Qassem Soleimani no longer walks the planet," Sec. Pompeo tells @GStephanopoulos when pressed about U.S. strategy and global safety amid rising tensions in the Middle East and escalating threats from Iran. https://t.co/A4OkoecSHW pic.twitter.com/k3dCcKB9x6
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 5, 2020
Pompeo told CBS News’s “Face The Nation” that the Trump administration is prepared for everything that Iran could possibly do for many months into the future.
“We continue to prepare for whatever it is the Iranian regime may put in front of us within the next 10 minutes, within the next 10 days, and within the next 10 weeks,” Pompeo continued. “We are focused on delivering a strategy for the American people. We’re gonna get it right in a moment, but we’re more importantly going to get it right over the days and weeks and months ahead. We have put Iran in the position it has not been in before. It is under enormous pressure, and we are continuing to be successful at denying them the resources to conduct precisely the types of campaign that we’re confronting as a direct result of what happened over the past eight years before we came into office.”
While the Trump Administration suggests the death of Qasem Soleimani will help make Iran “back down,” @SecPompeo assures the White House will do "everything to keep Americans safe." pic.twitter.com/EH0CSU64Z5
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 5, 2020
Pompeo told Chris Wallace on “FOX News Sunday” that Iran has been acting aggressively toward the U.S. because the Iranian leadership knows “that the Iranian people are demanding enormous change.”
“And they know that the Iranian people are supported by America in that demand for change,” Pompeo continued. “We’ve built out a huge coalition, Chris. Gulf states, Israel, countries all across the world who are joining us. They are joining us not only in the efforts in the Strait of Hormuz, but in the air defense efforts all across the region. The malign actor of Iran has been identified.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined FOX News Sunday to discuss breaking news regarding heightened US-Iran tensions in the wake of an attack that killed Soleimani. The Trump administration says he was planning imminent attacks. Secretary Pompeo reacts. #FNS #foxnews pic.twitter.com/zo7nkdtrZ1
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) January 5, 2020