State Department Press Briefing (Excerpts)

November 29, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

MR PALLADINO: All right, nothing for the top. Let’s – happy to take a question.

QUESTION: That must mean that there’s nothing going on in --

MR PALLADINO: Oh, there’s a lot going on, Matt. There’s a couple things going on.

[...]

QUESTION: So Mr. Pompeo spoke to the Senate yesterday and made a very pointed case to continue military assistance to Yemen, after which the senators voted on the first procedural step to withdraw military assistance. Does the Secretary of State have a reaction to that since it seems quite a failure of his attempt?

MR PALLADINO: I think the Secretary spoke quite a bit yesterday and made the case that the timing is not right for that, and he made the case quite forcefully that what we’re trying to accomplish vis-a-vis Yemen we are on the cusp, and hopefully in December we’re going to be supporting Special Representative Griffiths as we push towards that.

QUESTION: But does he have a reaction to the vote that followed shortly after his --

MR PALLADINO: I haven’t spoken to the Secretary. And as you know, he’s on his way to Buenos Aires. Please, anything further?

QUESTION: Why is the time not right? He said that the time is not right to end the war in Yemen. Is there --

MR PALLADINO: Absolutely not. The Secretary spoke on this yesterday, and he was clear the time is right for us to end this violence. And so we don’t want to give Iran any further cause to continue to fund and supply arms, so we are pushing in support of Special Representative Griffiths.

[...]

QUESTION: Thanks. Just – so we had this briefing this morning on Iran’s missile program and so on. Given this discussion about Yemen, could you just take a step back? Because the administration, from the first day it came into office, said it would roll back Iran’s influence across the region. This was a top priority. We’ve had an array of sanctions imposed, sanctions reimposed, we had this briefing about the missiles. Has the administration succeeded in rolling back Iran and Yemen and Syria and Lebanon, or is it time to review the approach?

MR PALLADINO: We’re going to continue to push. Our approach to Iran’s malign influence has many, many, many factors, and this administration is committed to stopping what Iran is attempting to do both across the region and globally.

QUESTION: Is there an example of a successful case where you’ve managed to do that?

MR PALLADINO: We have gotten out of the failed JCPOA, something that is going to allow us to finally confront the totality of Iran’s malign influence and to preserve American interests and peace both in the region and globally, and that’s it. I’m going to end it there. Thanks, guys.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) to the failed JCPOA? I mean, the administration’s position is that even if it was succeeding, it wasn’t good enough, and that’s why you had to withdraw. But the IAEA continues to say that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, so I don’t think that --

MR PALLADINO: While they continue to proliferate --

QUESTION: So “failed JCPOA” – but wait a second.

MR PALLADINO: -- as your colleague points out today from --

QUESTION: Look, I understand that – your reasons for withdrawing from it, but you didn’t withdraw from it because it had failed. You withdrew from it because you said it didn’t go far enough and because --

MR PALLADINO: We --

QUESTION: -- even if it was succeeding, it wouldn’t work, right?

MR PALLADINO: We withdrew because it failed to counter the totality of what Iran is up to. Thanks, guys. I’ve got to go. All right.