Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Gili Cohen of Kan 11 (Excerpts)

May 13, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

Related Country: 

  • Syria
  • Israel
  • United States


QUESTION:  Another main issue on the agenda of your visit is Iran.  Top Israeli security officials believe that Iran is being pushed out of Syria thanks to Israeli efforts.  Does the U.S. share the same view as well?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Both Israel and the United States have made clear to the Iranian regime that they need to get out of Syria.  We’ve made that clear to the Assad regime as well.  The Iranian people too know that the resources, the money being squandered, the loss of life that’s taking place – Iranian life – that’s taking place inside of Syria is not a good use of funds, especially at a time when Iran’s economy is suffering from low oil prices and the coronavirus.

And so the work that the Americans have done, the work that we’ve done with our program, our maximum pressure campaign, we think has been effective at denying the Iranian regime the resources to inflict terror across the world.  And we hope – we hope the Iranian regime will make the wise decision to move out of Syria, to cease their terror campaign there that’s caused six million people to leave, tens of thousands of lives lost.  We hope the Iranian regime will make a different choice and that they’ll depart Syria, and the sooner, the better.

QUESTION:  You’ve mentioned now COVID-19, that has hit hard Iran.  Is this an opportunity for regime change there?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  The United States policy is aimed at getting good outcomes for the Iranian people.  They’ll choose their leaders; they have chosen their leaders.  We hope now that they’ll make a choice of leadership that changes the fundamental behavior of the Iranian regime.  Look, this is a nation that is the most anti-Semitic nation in the world.  They have threatened to take Israel off the map.  They also are the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.  We are confident that that is not what the Iranian people want.  We hope that regime will change its behavior in a way that’s consistent with what the demands of the Iranian people have consistently been.