Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Tony Katz of The Morning News (Excerpts)

April 14, 2020

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  • United States


QUESTION:  So Senator Dianne Feinstein of California sent a letter to the President saying that he’s wrong; we should be sending $5 billion to Iran to help them in this fight on coronavirus.  Is that the job of the United States?  Certainly, we’re always the people who want to help.  Certainly, we’ve helped people who do indeed hate us.  But is there a place for $5 billion to be going to the Iranian regime with no knowledge of whether or not it’s actually going to help people engaged with dealing with coronavirus?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  No, Senator Feinstein’s got that wrong, and the President has talked about a this too.  We offered humanitarian assistance, real humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, but we’re not about to send cash to the ayatollahs.  In the first instance, it won’t get where we’d like it to go.  If our mission set is to save lives inside of Iran, to send a bunch of money to the Iranian regime won’t get that money to those people.  It’ll be funneled, siphoned off; it’ll be used for corrupt purposes.  And so that is the wrong approach to assistance inside of Iran.

Unfortunately, too, the Iranian regime has rejected our efforts; moreover, importantly, rejected their own ability.  They have money.  The ayatollah has got billions of dollars socked away.  It is not the case that Iran doesn’t have the capacity, the financial resources, to take care of this problem itself.  The United States and the world – this was an IMF loan, I think, that she was referring to – ought not to be creating free cash for the Iranian regime which will be used to fund its proxy wars all across the world, including those in Iraq where American citizens’ lives, American soldiers’ lives, are at risk.