Secretary of State Pompeo's Remarks to the Press (Excerpts)

April 29, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

MS NAUERT: And I told them, sir, on the record, we only have five minutes, and we’re talking about Saudi portion of the trip. We don’t want to get ahead of Israel.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Sounds great. Who’s got something (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: You spoke about the Iran nuclear deal. What was their – what was your take away from that? And can you rip up one nuclear deal while trying to forge a second one with North Korea? Doesn’t – isn’t that a contradiction?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, no contradiction at all in my view. With – the first question was about their view. I think their view is similar to ours, which is the deal was inadequate. We need to try and fix it. They were hopeful. I gave them an update on our progress from my trip to Brussels, about the progress we’ve made with the Europeans. We’ve certainly made some, there’s still work to do. And they said great, we’ll support you if you get the fixes that are very much in line with our policy there.

With respect to the differences in the deal, I am confident that Kim Jong-un is looking for more than a piece of paper, right? He’s not just staring at this North Korean deal and saying, “Oh goodness, there was this Iran agreement between President Obama and the Iranians, and I’m going to rely on the fact that the Americans stayed in that to have confidence that the Americans will do the right thing if I give up my nuclear weapons.” He’s going to look for aligning our interests, right, setting up – what we talked about is concrete, irreversible actions, assurances, that provided him with assurance that if we are able to be successful in changing this it will be lasting. So I don’t think Kim Jong-un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, “Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won’t talk to the Americans anymore.” There are higher priorities that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the JCPOA.

QUESTION: What are you expecting on the missile issue? I mean, is it just more sanctions, is it intercepting shipments from Iran --

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t want to talk about the status of negotiations. It’s a live issue and we’re making progress, and we’ve got to make sure everybody’s in the same place. So I’m going to save that until it’s complete.

QUESTION: Was there any discussion about the potential for a larger deal involving Syria and things with the Iran deal the way Macron had thrown forward?

SECRETARY POMPEO: You mean with respect to the JCPOA? So it’s certainly the case that what the President’s asked for in terms of a fix is a more comprehensive solution – that is, it won’t be just about the nuclear file. One of the core fixes is to make sure we’re addressing those other risks, that Iranian malign behavior and missiles. So if we’re successful in getting the fixes, it will certainly be broader than the JCPOA.

QUESTION: Would it involve actors like Russia or Turkey the way that Macron had thrown out?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m sorry, one more time?

QUESTION: Would it involve actors like Russia and Turkey? This is one of the things that had been discussed.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t know. I don’t know. See how far we can get.

MS NAUERT: He’s got to go.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all.

MS NAUERT: Thanks, guys.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.