Secretary of State Pompeo's Interview with Norah O'Donnell of CBS News (Excerpts)

September 26, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

QUESTION: Good morning, Gayle, and Secretary Pompeo, thank you so much for joining us live on CBS This Morning. I know you have a very busy day.

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s great to be with you, Norah.

QUESTION: Lots to talk about. Let’s start first with North Korea. President Trump and the South Korean president said there is going to be another summit and that it will be soon. When will that happen and where?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So there will be another summit. The location and date have not been set yet, but we’re working diligently to make sure we get the conditions right so that we can accomplish as much as possible during this summit, but we hope it’ll be soon. I’ll personally be traveling to Pyongyang before too long to continue the work that’s ongoing even today to try and deliver on that.


QUESTION: Let’s talk about Iran. I know there was some talk that perhaps a meeting would happen between President Trump and Iran President Rouhani. Rouhani yesterday, before the UN, said that President Trump has tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition and that America’s First strategy is a symptom of weakness of intellect. How do you sit down with someone like that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, there’s not going to be a meeting. President Trump has said when the Iranians are prepared to talk about fundamentally changing their behavior, then he is of course prepared to talk to them. Those statements yesterday indicate that they’re not in that place, and it is outrageous for him to say such a thing. For a Holocaust-denying country that is threatening Israel to compare the United States or its leader to Nazis is among the most outrageous things I have heard – and I will tell you, in diplomacy you hear a lot of them – the most outrageous things I have ever heard.

QUESTION: And yet you are ramping up sanctions on Iran and then the news that Europe, China and Russia are all going to create this backchannel so that they can keep economic relationships with Iran despite these U.S. sanctions. I mean, what does that say about our relationship with those countries and the fact that they’ve created this backchannel?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Look, I hosted a dinner with them last night. There are lots of places we’re working with our transatlantic partners in fundamentally important ways, on chemical weapons – lots of places where we have great overlap. They’ve taken a different path with respect to the JCPOA. That’s been clear for some time.

Here’s what I’d say about their decision yesterday: To continue to create mechanisms to fund the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is disastrous policy and I hope they will reconsider it. But most importantly, European businesses are voting with their checkbooks. They are leaving Iran in droves. These sanctions will be effective, they are effective, and come November 4th, they’ll be even more effective.

QUESTION: Isn’t it a lot more effective, though, when the world enforces the sanctions than just U.S. sanctions?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’re going to be incredibly effective. You can see it. Today, the rial trades at over 150,000 rial to the dollar. The economy is collapsing. There are two reasons for that. One is certainly the pressure that’s put in place, but most importantly, it’s the total chaos created by the Islamic Republic, Iran’s government. They treat their people horribly, they spend billions of dollars committing terror acts around the world, and they don’t take care of their people. And you see the protests, you see the anger on the streets of Tehran and in the rural areas. That’s a result of terrible government and the Iranian people aren’t going to stand for it, and the American people are going to stand with the Iranian people.