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tv   Secretary of State Pompeo on U.S. Policy Toward Iran  CSPAN  August 16, 2018 7:24pm-7:42pm EDT

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politics today, they would see or fear that many of these things that are going on in the united states today bore an uncanny resemblance to the england that they had revolted against. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a." secretary of state mike pompeo talked about u.s. policy toward iran and the creation of the iran action group. >> good afternoon, everyone. today, i'm happy to announce the creation of the iran action group. the iran action group will be responsible for directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the state department's iran related activity. they will report directly to me. for nearly 40 years the regime in tehran has been responsible
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for a torrent of violent and destabilizing behavior toward the united states, allies, partners and the iranian people themselves. in may of this year, president trump withdrew from the iran nuclear deal which failed to restrain iran's nuclear progress or its campaigns of violence abroad. in its place, president trump has instituted a campaign of pressure, deterrence and solidarity with the long-suffering iranian people. our hope is that one day soon we can reach a new agreement with iran, but we must see major changes in the regime's behavior both inside and outside of its borders. the iranian people and the world are demanding iran finally act like a normal nation. the iran action group will drive daily progress on these objectives and i hope, do much more. we are committed to a whole of government effort to change the iranian regime's behavior and the iran action group will ensure the department of state remains closely synchronized with our inner agency partners. the iag will also lead the way
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in growing efforts with nations which share our understanding of the iranian threat. president trump is making iran strategy a true multinational undertaking and the iran action group will be key to further progress in that regard. i'm also announcing brian hook will lead the iran action group with a formal title of special representative for iran. brian has served as the director of policy planning here since february of 2017, and he's worked tirelessly to enact president trump's foreign policy priorities across multiple domains. brian's diplomatic expertise and broad experience with iran policy makes him an outstanding choice to lead the state department iran action group. since the president's decision to withdraw from the iran deal, brian has played an important role in shaping our strategy of maximum diplomatic and economic pressure. we are going to continue to rely on him and his team to lead our efforts to counter the iran regime's activity, to support iranian voices and to galvanize
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international support for our efforts. with that, i would like to introduce our new special representative for iran. >> do you agree, were you aware of the decision to withdraw [ inaudible ]? >> i'm going to pass on that. >> would you agree with the president? >> i would like to thank the secretary. in may, the secretary announced our new iran strategy to protect america's national security, the security of our allies and partners, and to promote a brighter future for the iranian people. we have taken a comprehensive approach to iran because the scope of iranian malign activity is so wide-ranging, from its aspirations of nuclear weapons,
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its support for terrorism, its cyber activity, its proliferation of ballistic missiles and much more. the iran regime has been a force for instability and violence. our new strategy addresses all manifestations of the iranian threat and the new iran action group will be focused oifn implementing that strategy. we have an elite team of foreign affairs professionals here at the state department and across the administration. the iran action group will play a critical role in leading our efforts within the department and executing the president's iran strategy across the inner agency. the administration will also build, continue to build the broadest level of international support for our strategy. just yesterday, i was in london meeting with senior officials from germany, france and the united kingdom for productive discussions on iran.
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we will continue to build on those areas where we are in agreement with our allies and partners around the world, and we will work to find consensus on those areas where we are not. i have worked on iran throughout my career in foreign policy beginning in 2006 on the u.n. security council serving as an adviser to u.n. ambassador bolton. i thank secretary pompeo for this opportunity and the confidence he has placed in me and my colleagues to execute this strategy. i'm glad to answer a few questions. >> this was three but they are so brief, it will seem like just one. you talked about an elite team. can you tell us who else is part of -- who is going to be joining you. that's number one. two, what exactly do you envision this doing? does it have any resemblance to the future of iraq project that was initiated many years ago with respect to the neighbor of
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iran? lastly, it has been -- it has not gone unnoticed that this announcement is coming right at the 65th anniversary of the 1953coup in iran and prompted lots of speculation about this being the formal group that is going to oversee, try to oversee some kind of regime change. can you disspell or confirm that situation? >> three questions, three brief answers. number one, iran action group will launch with a core staff of several permanent personnel and additional experts will be detailed from the department. the secretary is committed to ensuring that the team has all necessary resources to do its job and to drive implementation of the new strategy. we want to be very closely synchronized with our allies and partners around the world. this team is committed to a strong global effort to change the iranian regime's behavior.
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on the second question -- >> do you have any specific names you can offer us? >> not yet. for now, we have a team that's assembled and in time, we will be happy to talk about it. he's got two more questions i have to answer. number two, no connection. number three, pure coincidence. >> do you believe that the u.s. should be talking to iran right now? is it the time? is that going to be part of your brief to try to get some negotiation going and some direct talks with tehran? >> well, if the iranian regime demonstrates a commitment to make fundamental changes in its behavior, then the president is prepared to engage in dialogue in order to find solutions. but the sanctions relief, the reestablishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations with the united
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states, and economic cooperation with the united states can only begin after we see that the iranian regime is serious about changing its behavior, and in the secretary's speech in may, he outlined 12 requirements. these are the kinds of things that we would expect any normal nation to do, and a lot of our work is going to be built around advancing those 12 areas. mostly around nukes terrorism and the detention of american citizens, arbitrary detention. >> i'm wondering how you intend to make this a multilateral effort given the fact that this administration has imposed tariffs on many of the countries that you need as partners, and is reimposing sanctions on companies that are doing business that's allowed under the jcpoa. >> the purpose of the sanctions is simply to deny the iranian
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regime revenues to finance terrorism. that's the purpose of maximum economic pressure. the point is not to create any rifts with other nations. but when you look at the kind of money that iran provides to assad and to shia militias and to hezbollah, it's billions and billions of dollars. we need to look at drying up those revenue streams. that is the purpose of our maximum economic pressure campaign. we have had teams from the state department and the treasury department who have now visited i want to say 24 countries in most regions of the world. that work will continue in the coming months and we have very good discussions with allies around the world, because when you look at the range of iranian threats, especially around missiles and cyber, maritime aggression, terrorism, these are concerns of other nations.
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united states is not alone in that regard. i find that when we sit down and talk with other nations, there are shared interests that we are able to pursue and we will continue doing it. >> can you talk about how you will work with the quote, regime, when this week, the ayatollah's speech criticized rouhani for dealing with the united states. this is obviously not the same as dealing with north korea, dealing with moscow. this is a divided political system. the repercussions of whatever may happen have to be dealt with accordingly. >> and? >> and how do you expect the quote, regime to change when there are so many disparate political -- >> the burden is on the iranian
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regime to change its behavior. the president has made clear that he is there to engage in dialogue with the regime. we have made it very clear about the kind of normal behavior that we would like to see from iran, but as for the internal vision within the regime and whether they want to talk to us, that's up to them. you have to ask them. >> don't you think the policy to withdraw from the nuclear deal and other policies, are actually making it more difficult to deal with president rouhani because of criticism that he dealt with you in the first place? not you, but the previous administration. >> yeah. the president decided to leave the iran deal because it was a bad deal, and it didn't address the totality of iranian threats. the sunset provision, the weak inspections regime, the absence of icbms in the deal, so the president makes decisions based on advancing america's national security interests, the iran deal as we inherited it did not do that sufficiently.
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it did not address the broad range of iranian threats. now that we are out of the deal, we have a lot more diplomatic freedom to pursue the entire range of iran's threats. >> just a couple weeks ago, there was all this talk about meeting with iran without preconditions, being willing to do so. can you just clarify this now? you mentioned that iran first needs to show that it's serious. is that right? before you will engage iran, they need to do something to show that they're serious? what is the precondition? >> the president has spoken on this and so has the secretary. >> but it's never clear. >> we don't think it's unclear. the secretary has presented 12 areas where iran needs to change its behavior. that is our strategy. we have launched a campaign of
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maximum economic pressure and diplomatic isolation of iran in order to advance those 12 requirements. the president has also said that he is prepared to talk with the iranian regime. those two things occur on parallel track. >> so before that happens, iran needs to show that they are serious about -- >> i have said everything i can on the subject. these proceed on parallel tracks. >> so china has said they don't plan to cut oil imports. in fact, they might even increase them. i was wondering, what is your strategy as part of this group with china? >> on china? >> what kind of measures can you take to get china to comply, or will you address, will you do anything to sanction them, i guess, if they continue to import oil from iran or increase imports? >> well, our goal is to reduce every country's import of iranian oil to zero by november 4th. we are prepared to work with
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countries that are reducing their imports on a case by case basis. as you know, those sanctions will come into effect on november 5th. those will include sanctions on iran's energy sector, transactions by foreign financial institutions with the central bank of iran, iran's shipping and shipbuilding sectors, among others. and the united states certainly hopes for compliance by all nations. in terms of not risking the threat of u.s. secondary sanctions, if they continue with those transactions. >> thank you very much. >> do one more. >> -- countries are at risk of violating -- >> no, i'm saying we then, in our sanctions regime, yes, we will -- we are prepared to impose secondary sanctions on regimes. i'm sorry, on other governments. that continue the sort of trade with iran. >> is that like the north korea
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strategy? >> only speaking about the iran strategy. okay. thank you. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, we'll look at political news of the day with "washington time's" online opinion editor and harvard law professor lawrence lessi on the lawsuit he joined to challenge the electoral college system. live beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on friday morning. join the discussion. >> this sunday on "oral histori histories" we continue our series on women in congress with former democratic congresswoman eva clayton. >> my interest in the agricultural committee, my service on the committee and
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even my members' resistance to me, but finally their acceptance of me, and they did. they did. i earned -- i wasn't all that interested, only because i was a ranking member. i made a contribution. also, they accepted me as equal and many of them accepted me as their superior. allowing me to know that i can negotiate with the best of them. >> in the weeks ahead we will hear from helen bentley, barbara cannelly and lynn woolsey. american history tv on c-span 3. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a
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public service by america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer says democrats stand ready to sue for documents regarding supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh and his work in the white house during the bush administration. he and sheldon whitehouse spoke with reporters earlier today. >> hi, everybody. welcome to the abbreviated week,


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