QUESTION: We want to go now to the State Department Diplomatic Room in Washington and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, I want to start with the sanctions that will be reimposed this week on Iran. A number of European countries do business with Iran. The President had formally said anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States. So can European allies expect they will not be doing business with the United States?
SECRETARY POMPEO: John, good morning. That’s right. The European companies will not be permitted to do business with both the United States and with Iran, frankly since May, since the President’s announcement of withdrawal from the ill-fated agreement. European companies have fled Iran in great numbers. Hundreds of businesses have departed Iran. The whole world understands that these sanctions are real, that they are important, that they drive the Iranian people’s opportunity to make the changes in Iran that they so desperately want and stop Iran from having the wealth and money that they need to continue to foment terror around the world.
QUESTION: But it’s the companies that won’t be doing business, not the countries themselves. In other words, they won’t be punished if any company doing business in Iran – the country won’t be punished.
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s right. These sanctions apply to those who conduct sanctionable transactions. The Treasury has a set of sanctions, the State Department has its own set of sanctions, and those will all come back into place on Monday of this week, and they’ll be the toughest sanctions ever placed against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
QUESTION: The President put out a poster of himself and said, “Sanctions are coming.” What was that about?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, he was putting the world on notice that the terror regime which threatens Israel through Iranian funding of Lebanese Hizballah; that the terror regime that attempted to conduct an assassination in Denmark over the past few weeks; that the terror regime that continues to fund the Houthis launching missiles into Riyadh and into Dubai – that’s going to stop. That behavior must change, and sanctions from the United States will be reimposed at midnight tonight.
QUESTION: What if they restart their nuclear program in Iran?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We’re confident that the Iranians will not make that decision.