Pompeo: Rejoining Iran Deal Would Make America, Middle East Less Secure

Pompeo: Rejoining Iran Deal Would Make America, Middle East Less Secure
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on Jan. 12, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bill Pan

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the Biden administration on March 14 against rejoining the nuclear deal with Iran, calling it a “crappy deal” that would harm the security of the United States and the Middle East.

“The Iranians understand strength. They understand power. They understand resolve. We demonstrated that. And when we did, the Iranians backed down,” Pompeo told radio talk show host John Catsimatidis during an interview on WABC 770.

The Trump administration, according to Pompeo, had made progress by withdrawing from the Obama-era nuclear deal and pressuring Tehran with punishing economic sanctions, although there was still a way to go before forcing the regime into fully giving up its nuclear weapons project.

“We didn’t get all the way to where we would’ve hoped we could get, in respect to getting Iran to stand down and enter an agreement that would’ve actually avoided them having a nuclear weapon, but we made an awful lot of progress.”

The Biden administration, however, doesn’t seem to be able to make a deal that would prevent Iran from advancing its nuclear ambitions, according to Pompeo.

“If this administration unwinds that and goes back to the crappy deal that we had with Iran when President Obama was in office, America will be less secure,” Pompeo said. “Israel will be less secure. The Middle East will be less secure. And the entire region will be less stable.”

Pompeo’s comments follow the Biden administration offering some specifics of its plan to engage with Iran. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was confirmed as Pompeo’s successor in January, said last week that Washington won’t roll back sanctions imposed on Tehran before complying with the terms agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

During a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Blinken was pressed by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) on whether the Biden administration would lift the sanctions in order to bring Iran back to the negotiation table.

“We’ve been clear that the best, most sustainable way [to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons] is through tough-minded diplomacy. We’ve made clear that we’re prepared to engage in that diplomacy,” Blinken told the committee. “I think the ball is in their court to see if they’re serious about engaging or not.

“We have fundamental problems with Iran’s actions across a whole series of things, whether it is support for terrorism, whether it is a ballistic missile program,” he said. “An Iran with a nuclear weapon or with the threshold capacity to have one is an Iran that is likely to act with even greater impunity when it comes to those things.”

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