Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Interview with the Brian Kilmeade Show

October 30, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

QUESTION: And of course, when it comes to Governor Scott, he wants to be the next senator. With us right now, a man who used to do politics for a living, Congressman Mike Pompeo, now has turned into – from CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr. Secretary, welcome to the Brian Kilmeade Show.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, Brian. How are you today?

QUESTION: Man, your resume’s getting better and better. This is obviously with a most challenging job. Today is an important day in U.S.-Iranian relations. Tell us why.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we are now just a handful of days from all of the sanctions that the previous administration had relieved against Iran snapping back, coming back into effect, and it’s having a real impact on the Iranian leadership. This is important. The Iranians are – just yesterday or the day before, Denmark announced that Iran had plotted an assassination attack in their country. Same has happened in France and Albania. They are the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and they are squandering the people’s money, the Iranian people’s money, on these silly malign activities. And our effort is to get them to change that behavior.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, let’s talk about what you just glazed over, an assassination attempt inside Denmark and now the Danes are asking for the European Union to take action. Could you tell us more about this?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So that’s right. So an Iranian intelligence officer was in Denmark seeking to conduct an assassination attempt inside of Europe on the EU’s soil. This is the third effort of just recent times. There’s a long history of this. We talk about assassinations around the world. The Iranians are the leading actor conducting these assassination attempts in Europe and that kind of behavior needs to stop, and we have offered our support and effort to help the Europeans in preventing these kinds of assassination attempts from taking place.

QUESTION: So back to what led to the JCPOA, which is an agreement the President promised to rip up that you didn’t like when you were congressman and now it’s gone. Now, there was no obvious breach of this agreement according to the United Nations by the Iranians, but this time it’s harder for you because the deal was done, the Russians were on board with the sanctions, as were the Chinese, as was the European Union. But now once they signed onto this, they’re reluctant to sign off of this. How hard a job has it been to try to get, number one, our allies of the EU to step away with us?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So, so far, Brian, the Europeans have stayed in the deal. They’ve taken a fundamentally different position than ours. But we talk to them nearly every day. We’re working with them to explain things like what just happened in Denmark yesterday and why we have to have a completely different policy with respect to Iran. The problems – and the President has talked about this at great length – the challenge of the worst deal ever was that it didn’t address Iranian missile programs, it didn’t address Iranian terror, it did none of those things. And you can see the fruits of that today where Iran is running rampant in Syria and in Iraq and in other places in the Middle East. That’s the reason that the JCPOA made no sense and the reason President Trump made the bold decision to withdraw from it.

QUESTION: So the Iranian foreign minister was on CBS, Mohammad Zarif, and he’s got a problem with this – with the Trump administration and you. Cut one.

(An audio clip was played)

QUESTION: So what do you think he’s talking about?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Boy, it’s difficult to know. We know this: This is not the first time that Mr. Zarif has made threats against the United States. President Trump has been unambiguous that we will defend American interests all around the world, and that what we’re looking for is Iran to become a normal nation. We’re not asking for much, Brian, right? We’re asking the same thing of Iran that we ask for every nation. Don’t cause trouble, don’t commit terror acts around the world, don’t engage in this kind of malign activity.

We are hopeful that Zarif’s boss, the ayatollah, the man who actually makes all the decisions – it’s not Mr. Zarif, it’s the ayatollah – that the ayatollah will see the error of his ways and will come to understand that it’s in Iran’s best interest to change the nature of the activities that Iran is conducting all around the world and become a normal nation.

When they do, President Trump’s made very clear we’re happy to talk with the Iranians and bring them back into the community of nations, but they’ve got to do about a dozen things, simple things like stop launching missiles into airports in the Middle East, before such things – such a thing can take place.

QUESTION: Any indication – have they reached out to you guys at all that they might be willing to talk at any level?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ve seen no indications of any change in their behavior, Brian. None at all.