Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At a Press Briefing (Excerpts)

July 9, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Military


QUESTION: Yes, hi, good morning.  Thanks for doing this.  I have a quick question.  Not sure if you saw the news that Iran is claiming to have built missile cities.  So my question to you, Mr. Secretary:  With the embargo expiring in October, and the missile threat is increasing from Iran, are you holding any discussion with the GCC allies?  Are you planning to boost their defenses given the current reality of things?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Joyce, thanks for the question.  So yes, we remain concerned about missile proliferation – frankly throughout the region, certainly from the Islamic Republic of Iran.  They continue to work on their missile program in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.  It’s the reason we think it is so important that the world unite to extend the arms embargo that expires just a handful of months from now in the middle of October.  We think that would be tragically dangerous for the region and create instability throughout the Middle East.

And yes, we’ve been working with our Gulf state partners, not only to get them to assist the United States effort to extend this arms embargo – which is very, very important for them – but second, we’ve provided a great deal of assistance.  You see all kinds of U.S. sales of weapons – those are all public – and things that we can do both publicly and otherwise to help provide security in the face of an increasing capability of the Iranians to fire missiles all throughout the region, and ultimately establish a set of missile capabilities that is robust enough to defeat missile defenses throughout the region, but strike in places that go beyond even just their near neighborhood.

I’ll give you an example.  We watch as they continue to try and build out their space launch vehicle program.  They would, of course, claim this is for a civilian purpose, to put commercial satellites up.  I think the world’s smarter than that.  I think the world recognizes that program as being deeply connected to their desire to have longer and longer range missile systems that they can use to hold hostage the world.