Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid the blame for the escalating hostilities between the U.S. and Iran on former President Barack Obama, accusing the previous administration of trying to appease the theocratic regime and arguing that the deal aimed at delaying Iran’s development of nuclear weapons only succeeded in funding regional terrorism.
“We’re trying to correct for what was the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran,” Pompeo said Sunday on the ABC News’ “This Week.”
“This is a regime that has been acting against America for an awfully long time. And we are suffering from eight years of neglect and we’re trying to push it back. We’re trying to contain them,” he said.
Iran has vowed to retaliate for a U.S. airstrike that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the well-known leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near the Baghdad airport last week.
The attack that killed Soleimani came after Iran-backed militias stormed the U.S. Embassy in response to an earlier U.S. airstrike that killed at least two dozen militia fighters in sites in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. said that strike was in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq that killed an American contractor and left four U.S. service members wounded.
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pompeo said the administration is “prepared for anything the Islamic Republic of Iran may do” in response to Soleimani’s death.
He referred to the developing conflict as a “war,” which he said began when Obama and the European Union adopted the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under that deal, Iran agreed to scrap its nuclear weapons program for at least 10 years in exchange for sanctions relief and the release of previously frozen funds.
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SOURCE: USA Today, William Cummings