Secretary Michael R. Pompeo at a Press Availability (Excerpts)

April 22, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile
  • Military

Related Country: 

  • United States


QUESTION: Thank you, Morgan. Thanks, Mr. Secretary, for doing this. Let me try Iran and China, if you don’t mind. The IRGC today said that it launched a military satellite into orbit for the first time. Could that technology be used for ICBMs? And we’ve seen from Iran expanded nuclear capacity, Iraqi militia rocket attacks, harassing of a Navy ship in recent days. After the Soleimani strike, there was talk of reestablishing deterrence. Do you fear the deterrence has slipped?




As for Iran, you noted the launch last night. The Iranians have consistently said that these missile programs were disconnected from their military, that these were purely commercial enterprises. I think today’s launch proves what we’ve been saying all along here in the United States: The IRGC, a designated terrorist organization, launched a missile today. And I’ll leave to the Department of Defense to talk about the details about that. But when you talk about the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, I think every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution. I don’t think it remotely is, and I need – I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they’ve done. They’ve now had a military organization that the United States has designated terrorists attempt to launch a satellite.

You talked about the naval ships. You saw the President’s statement this morning. The President’s been very clear to the Department of Defense and frankly to the State Department team too to do everything we need to do to make sure that we protect and defend our officers, our military officers, our diplomats around the world, to continue to ensure that they are secure and safe. What he said this morning and what I know he’s told all of us in leadership inside the government is take whatever action is necessary to make sure that you can defend and keep our people safe. I’m confident that the Department of Defense will do that in response to what the President said this morning as well.

And then finally, you talked more broadly about deterrence. Two thoughts. First: The Iranian regime has gone around the world spreading disinformation in response to this virus. One of the things they’ve said is that, boy, we need resources in order to take care of the virus at home. And all the while they are launching satellites, driving ships around the Arabian Gulf, coming and harassing U.S. naval vessels. They continue to underwrite Shia militias, they’re working to support Hizballah. Yesterday my Iranian counterpart – or the day before – was in Syria talking to the butcher in Damascus.

I hope that the Iranian regime will respond to the Iranian people’s demands to prioritize resources, resources that the Iranian regime clearly has, to the health and security and safety of the Iranian people, rather than continuing their global terror campaign. You can see they’re still hard at it. You can see they still have resources. You should note, we, the – at the very first news that the COVID virus had hit Iran, offered humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran. That offer was rejected. That offer still stands. We’ve assisted other countries in delivering humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people. I only wish that the Iranian regime cared about its people as much as the rest of the world has demonstrated that it does.