Secretary of State Pompeo's Interview with Elise Labott of CNN (Excerpts)

June 26, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

MS NAUERT: So, Elise, we have 10 minutes, so I’ll just stand by.

QUESTION: Okay, okay. Mr. Secretary, two months ago you inherited a State Department essentially on its knees really – low morale, the staff had really been depleted – and you promised to bring the swagger back. So I’m interested in your view. How have things changed, do you think, since you took over?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, we’re two months in and we have made a significant amount of progress in doing a couple things. First, we’re reducing the amount of command and control; that is, I have allowed officers to make decisions. We’ve moved many decisions out of the seventh floor back to the professionals in the work force, just as I described what I would do – allowing the experts to make the judgments, understanding the President’s direction and understanding my guidance so that they know commander’s intent. And I think that’s made a real difference not only in our ability to execute the President’s vision but do so in a way that moves at the speed of our adversaries.


QUESTION: Since the U.S. pulled out of the Iran deal, the JCPOA, we’ve seen new designations, you’ve sent the State Department officials and Treasury officials out to discuss next steps, and you’ve been very vocal yourself about Iran, including the threat from the IRGC. Do you think a possible next step could be designating them as a foreign terrorist group? There’s some talk in the administration that this should be a next step.

SECRETARY POMPEO: There are a bunch of next steps. I don’t want to get out in front of the decision-making process of the President. But the --

QUESTION: That’s on the table, though, isn’t it?

SECRETARY POMPEO: There are lots of – there’s lot of things that are being discussed, things that will prove, we believe, very effective at the end goal – which is, at the end of the day, what matters, right? Right.

And the end goal is to convince the Islamic Republic of Iran to be a normal country. It’s pretty simple. It’s been funny; everybody’s talked about these 12 things that I demanded of Iran. They are no different from what I demand of Belgium, right? They’re no different than what we demand of – pick a country – of Singapore, right?

Be a normal country. Don’t conduct terrorism, don’t launch missiles into international airports, don’t be the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, comport with nuclear requirements. None of these are things that are difficult or somehow singling out Iran; but rather, we’re asking them to do the things that nations that are part of the community of nations do so that they can behave in normal commerce, normal diplomatic relationships, all of the things that we’re looking for. It’s pretty straightforward. And a particular designation that we make or a particular operational tactic that we undertake, I’m not going to talk about those tonight.