Part 3: Pompeo, Bolton on Iran During U.N. Week

September 24, 2018
Updated

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted Iranian sponsorship of terror and proliferation risks posed by Tehran in the runup to opening of the U.N. General Assembly. “We are determined to stop that behavior and to change the way the Iranian regime inflicts horrors all around the world,” he told Fox News on September 21. Pompeo frequently highlighted Iran’s support for terror in his remarks in New York as well. He and other U.S. officials also clarified that the Trump administration is not seeking regime change in Iran.

National Security Advisor John Bolton warned that “there will indeed be hell to pay” if Iran crosses the United States or its allies. “The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you,” he said at a United Against Nuclear Iran event in New York. The following are excerpted remarks by Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. 

 

Secretary Mike Pompeo

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s an appropriate but sad irony that we’re talking about Iran during the 73rd UN General Assembly.  So many times over the years, the UN – during the UN, Iranian regime leaders and diplomats have used this occasion to turn on their charm offensive with foreign governments, obscure what they’re really up to at home and abroad.  Iranian President Rouhani – who has been tweeting the last hour – Foreign Minister Zarif, and other Iranian figures take this opportunity to present themselves as moderates – as moderate statesmen, indeed.  But the world knows the truth, that their polished diplomatic waltz is a transparent trick to take responsible nations and try and make them think that maybe they aren’t so bad.

In actuality, these are two of the highest-ranking officials of a regime which brazenly defies the vision of the United Nations, the requirements of international and the principles of national sovereignty.  The Iranian regime’s track record over the past 40 years has revealed it as among the worst violators of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions – perhaps, indeed, the worst violator.  It is truly an outlaw regime.

Let’s look at the UN Charter.  It calls for our nations to “live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.”  And where there is a threat to peace, it requires UN member-states to carry out decisions made by the Security Council as to what must be done to address that threat.

Has Iran lived together with other nations in peace?  Has it been a good neighbor?  Has it contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security by fully abiding by the decisions of the Security Council?  Let’s take a little walk around the world, and you’ll see the answer is a deafening “no.” 

Let’s start with Europe.

Just a few months ago, authorities across Europe arrested several Iranian operatives – including an Iranian official based in Austria – as part of a plot to plant a bomb at a political rally in France.  They grabbed this guy.  It happened just as the regime has been putting a full-court press on European countries to stay in the nuclear deal. 

As a just response to this support for terrorism, a few weeks ago our ally France indefinitely postponed all non-essential diplomatic travel to Iran.  It’s a good first step, and I thank France for that, and we hope to see more actions like this from other European nations.  We must put pressure on the regime to rein in its destruction and demand that Iran act like a normal country.

Unfortunately, just last night I was disturbed and, indeed, deeply disappointed to hear the remaining parties in the deal announce they’re setting up a special payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions.  This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security.  By sustaining revenues to the regime, you are solidifying Iran’s ranking as the number one state sponsor of terror, enabling Iran’s violent export of revolution, and making the regime even richer while the Iranian people scrape by.  I imagine the corrupt ayatollahs and the IRGC were laughing this morning.

This decision is all more – all the more unacceptable, given the litany of Iranian-backed terrorist activity inside of Europe.

In 2012, four Qods Force operatives entered Turkey to attack Israeli targets, but the attack was thankfully disrupted by Turkish authorities.  That same year, Lebanese Hizballah – one of the regime’s most loyal proxies – bombed a bus in Bulgaria carrying six Israeli tourists.  Six were killed, including a driver, and at least 32 were wounded.  In 1992, Iran provided logistical support to Lebanese Hizballah operatives who assassinated four Iranian Kurdish dissidents at a cafe in Berlin.

But Iran’s state-supported, lawless terror is not confined to Europe.  It’s all over.  Our journey continues to Africa.  In 2013, three Iranian operatives were arrested in Nigeria for planning attacks against USAID offices, an Israeli business, a Jewish cultural center, and hotels frequented by Israelis and Americans.  In 2012, two Qods Force operatives were arrested in Nairobi, Kenya for planning bomb attacks against Western interests; 33 pounds of explosive materials were found.

How about South America?  In Uruguay in 2015, a senior Iranian diplomat was expelled for planning an attack near the Israeli embassy.  In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iran provided logistical support for two suicide vehicle attacks – one in 1992 and then again in 1994.  These attacks killed a total of 114 people and wounded nearly 500, with the 1994 bombing being the deadliest terror attack in the history of Argentina. 

The next stop on the tour is Asia.  In Kathmandu in 2013, an Iranian traveling on a fake Israeli passport was arrested for conducting surveillance of the Israeli embassy.  In New Delhi in 2012, the Qods Force directed a bomb attack targeted at an Israeli diplomat.  In Karachi in 2011, Iranian operatives assassinated a Saudi diplomat.  Since 2006, Iran has provided the Taliban with a broad range of arms, including rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds, rockets, and plastic explosives.

Iran has tried to pull the same stunts right here on our continent.  In 2011, the Qods Force supported a plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States.  This past August, the United States arrested two alleged agents of Iran for conducting covert surveillance and intelligence collection activities against Israeli and American targets here in the United States.

In cyberspace, Iran has exploited the internet to inflame the fault lines of public opinion and to turn Americans against one another.  Last month, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube collectively removed thousands of accounts originating from Iran for coordinating disinformation.

In Australia, hackers linked to the IRGC have tried to steal sensitive research from universities. 

And of course, the Iranian regime has directed an array of violent and destructive activities to its neighbors in the Middle East. 

It provides Lebanese Hizballah, a terrorist organization, with $700 million each year.  Hizballah is responsible for some of the most lethal terrorist attacks against Americans abroad in the Middle East.  We all remember 1983.  With the approval and financing of the Iranian regime, Lebanese Hizballah bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, including 17 Americans. 

And then again, in 1996, Hizballah bombed the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. Air Force personnel. 

This regime – this regime led by Rouhani and Zarif – provides over $100 million each year to terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  The most hypocritical part about this is that the ayatollah claims he cares about Palestinians.  But from 2008 to 2017, Iran gave a total of $20,000 to the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees.  Meanwhile, the United States nearly – gave nearly $3 billion over the same period, 150,000 [times] more money to support the Palestinians than the terror regime in Iran.

The regime also recruits impoverished youth in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.  It peddles a seductive vision of martyrdom to them and then ships them off to Syria to fight at the direction of Qasem Soleimani and his Qods Force.  The regime has enticed Afghan children as young as 14 to take on the fight in Syria.

Today, Iranian vessels harass ships in international waterways based on maritime claims made in defiance of international law.  No, if the Iranian regime thinks the Strait of Hormuz belongs solely to them, you can bet your last rial that the United States will never stand for that.  (Applause.)  And at about 170,000 rials to the dollar, you can be sure we are focused on making sure that international waterways continue to remain open for trade.

Just a few weeks ago, Iranian-supported militias in Iraq launched life-threatening rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad and at the U.S. consulate in Basra.  Iran did not stop these attacks, which were carried out by proxies it has supported and funded and trained, and with which – and militias with which it has provided weapons.

The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to our facilities.  America will respond swiftly and decisively in [defense of] American lives, and we will respond against the source of the attack on American interests.  

You know we are here for big meetings at the UN.  Each one of these defies the spirt of the UN Charter.  But what about the letter of the UN Security Council Resolutions?  A tally confirms that Iran is truly an outlaw regime.  The list is long. 

Resolution 1373 requires all member-states to refrain from providing any form of support to entities involved in terrorist acts. 

Resolution 1701 requires all UN member-states to prevent the direct or indirect supply by its nationals from its territory of weapons to Lebanon, with just a handful of exceptions.  But neither of these exceptions has stopped Iran from arming Lebanese Hizballah.

Exports of arms from Iran are prohibited by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, and yet arms for the Houthis move in violation of that command from the United Nations.  

From 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council passed six different resolutions governing Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.  But from 20[07] to 2015, the IAEA Board of Governors issued less than – no less than 33 reports outlining Iran’s noncompliance with each of those resolutions.

UN Security Council Resolution 1929 stated that, “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”  But Iran conducted multiple ballistic missile launches between 2010 and 2015, every one of them in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

And even when, in connection with the JCPOA sanctions relief, the Security Council superseded this provision in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 with a call upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles, Iran’s pace of missile activity, missile launches, and tests did not diminish.  Iran has conducted multiple ballistic missile launches since January 2016, when the deal was first implemented.  Today Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East, each of those ballistic missiles costing more than a million dollars.

And that leads me to wonder how the struggling people of Iran feel about a missile program that drains their public treasury and causes economic sanctions that constrict their prosperity.

Recently, the UN Working Group on the Arbitrary Detention – on Arbitrary Detention has concluded that the Government of Iran has no legal basis for the arrest and detention of the American graduate student Wang Xiyue.

Last year, the UN working group called for the immediate release of another American, Siamak Namazi, who was arbitrarily arrested in 2015 while visiting his parents in Iran.  In 2016, the working group also concluded that Bob Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for more than 11 years now, was arrested without legal grounds and should be immediately released. 

We continue to press Iran to uphold its commitment to assist the United States in locating Bob so he can return to his family.  All these Americans and the others wrongly detained must come home.  

I talked about Mr. Rouhani’s tweets.  They’re wasting a lot of time these days trying to discredit the United States over our lawful and justified decision to leave the JCPOA.  But Iran’s own track record of violating international law is among the worst in the world.  It has no regard for international law, borders, or lives.

I don’t think I need to offer much more evidence than I have laid out here today.  These are destructive activities undertaken by Iran in a global scope.  It is therefore incumbent on every country to join our efforts to change the regime’s lawless behavior.  The ongoing, multi-national, multi-continental nature of Iranian malign activity leaves no room for indecision.

The United States will continue to coalesce international efforts to change Iranian behavior through pressure, deterrence, and support for the Iranian people.  We want every single country on board.  This is among the President’s top diplomatic priorities. 

The consensus – the consensus that already exists – on Iran nonnuclear activities is reflected in Security Council resolutions, the ones I just mentioned. 

But enforcement of those resolutions should be the bare minimum we ask of every nation. 

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the nuclear deal, countries are now facing a choice on whether to keep doing business in Iran.  Reimposing sanctions and discouraging international business with Iran is not something we’re doing out of spite.  This is a necessary security measure.  The regime must no longer be allowed to get its hands on billions of dollars that it’s already proven it will spread around the world to its client states, rebel groups, and terrorists.  Doing business in Iran only pours money into a regime that hoards it for itself and misuses it for violent ends.  This all happened, of course, during the JCPOA. 

For decades, the world has sought to achieve the elusive goal of a stable Middle East.  What better way – what better way to proceed toward it than denying the resources toward the regime most responsible for instability in the region?  We must do whatever we can to stop the funding of the IRGC and the ministry of intelligence so that their agents cannot sustain terrorism and subversion on every continent.  Make no mistake:  These sanctions and our economic pressure are directed at the regime and its malign proxies, not at the Iranian people.

That is why we have humanitarian exemptions to all of our statutory sanctions that are being reimposed and have a range of authorizations in place to allow for certain activities that actually benefit the Iranian people. 

If the world wants to see for itself the full extent of the Iranian regime’s malign activity, the United States has just released a booklet chronicling the destructive activities that the outlaw regime has perpetrated over the years. 

Please go online, take a look.  It has a great and detailed list.  It is a great resource too for anyone who wants to see what revolutionary priorities are like, what the regime really is all about. 

I’ve talked a lot today about the regime’s broken promises to UN member-states.  It’s important, as we meet here, to talk about the relationship between Iran and its commitments to the United Nations.  But the other constituency can put no – that can put no faith in the words of Iran’s leader are of course the Iranian people themselves. 

In 1978, before he returned from exile, the Ayatollah Khomeini gave an interview touting the glorious things to come for the Iranian people under the tenets of the Islamic Republic.  Among other things, he promised the eradication of poverty, the improvement of condition of the life of the majority of the people who’d been oppressed in various manners, and all kinds of other good things that would come to the country.

How’s that working out?  There are psychic hotlines with more accurate predictions.  

The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani himself, has said many people have lost their faith in the future of the Islamic Republic and are in doubt about its power.  This attitude, of course, is understandable with one-third of Iranian youth unemployed, while government parking garages are filled with Range Rovers and BMWs. 

Thanks to the regime’s failed policies, the Iranian people are battling drastic water shortages and environmental crises throughout their nation. 

Last year, Iran’s own energy minister said that 295 cities are facing droughts and water shortages.  Meanwhile, the regime has spent untold billions of dollars on a nuclear program that has extended now over years.  The Iranian regime is more concerned with heavy water than drinking water.

In terms of improving the condition of those who have been oppressed, Iran still throws its citizens in prison.  They bring up charges like “anti-revolutionary behavior,” “corruption on earth,” “siding with global arrogance,” and “crimes against Islam.”  Regime vans cruise around the streets of major cities to round up women not obeying the restrictive hijab laws.  As part of a larger persecution of the Sunni minority, last year one court sentenced four Sunnis to five years of imprisonment for the crime of jogging. 

The law prohibits Muslim citizens from changing or renouncing their religious beliefs, even the teaching of music.  Music is discouraged in the schools.

If nations are not moved by this evidence to change their policies towards Iran, that’s their choice.  That is their prerogative.  But how can any nation that claims to sympathize with the people of Iran keep sustaining trade relationships with lawless and oppressive Ayatollahs? 

The United States says this to the people of Iran:  Our pledges of support do not end with our words.  The United States hears you; the United States supports you.  The United States is with you.  We support your rights to live as a free people under a government that exercises accountability and treats you with respect.

You deserve better than the fruitless revolution, a revolution that has been imposed on you by corrupt leaders.

And our message is consistent.  It’s consistent with what the protesters on the streets of Iran themselves are crying out for and what millions of Iranians in the world of – the worldwide diaspora have said for nearly 40 years.  The United States seeks a better way forward with the Middle East.

As President Trump and I have said many times, a new agreement is possible.  Indeed, he said it even today.  But change must come in the 12 areas I outlined in May, as well in – as with Iran’s human rights record.

This week, our new special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will meet the members of the Iranian diaspora here in New York.  They will share their personal stories about what they and their family and friends have experienced and endured.  Be sure, all Iranians who long for a normal government in Iran should be heard.  We will continue these conversations to let the Iranian regime know unambiguously whose side we are on.  

I want to close with a quote from a great American who often crossed party lines to stand up for the truth, much like our good friend Senator Lieberman did.  His name is Daniel Patrick Moynihan, also from this great state.  Served 24 years as a senator from New York.  He was also the United States ambassador to the United Nations under President Ford.

He once said that, “The United Nations Charter imposes two obligations on members.  The first, which is well-known, is to be law-abiding in their relations with other nations: not to attack them, not to subvert them, and so on.  But there is a second obligation, which” is – “very simply is to be law-abiding in the treatment of one’s own citizens” as well.

Iran has failed on both obligations.

Ambassador Moynihan also once said “everyone is entitled to his opinions but not to his own facts.”

The fact is that Iran’s charm offensive behind closed doors cannot cover up its string of broken promises in the Security Council chamber.

The fact is that the Iranian regime robs its own people to pay for death and destruction abroad.

The fact is that the outlaw Iranian regime has sabotaged the ability of the people on every continent to live in peace and dignity, including its own country.

The United States asks every nation to come to term with these facts and hold Iran accountable in ways that it has not been held accountable to date.

Only then – only then – can we take new and true steps towards greater security for our own peace-loving people and greater liberty for those inside of Iran.

—Sept. 25, 2018, in a speech at the United Against Nuclear Iran Summit

 

QUESTION: Let’s talk about Iran. I know there was some talk that perhaps a meeting would happen between President Trump and Iran President Rouhani. Rouhani yesterday, before the UN, said that President Trump has tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition and that America’s First strategy is a symptom of weakness of intellect. How do you sit down with someone like that? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, there’s not going to be a meeting. President Trump has said when the Iranians are prepared to talk about fundamentally changing their behavior, then he is of course prepared to talk to them. Those statements yesterday indicate that they’re not in that place, and it is outrageous for him to say such a thing. For a Holocaust-denying country that is threatening Israel to compare the United States or its leader to Nazis is among the most outrageous things I have heard – and I will tell you, in diplomacy you hear a lot of them – the most outrageous things I have ever heard. 

QUESTION: And yet you are ramping up sanctions on Iran and then the news that Europe, China and Russia are all going to create this backchannel so that they can keep economic relationships with Iran despite these U.S. sanctions. I mean, what does that say about our relationship with those countries and the fact that they’ve created this backchannel? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Look, I hosted a dinner with them last night. There are lots of places we’re working with our transatlantic partners in fundamentally important ways, on chemical weapons – lots of places where we have great overlap. They’ve taken a different path with respect to the JCPOA. That’s been clear for some time. 

Here’s what I’d say about their decision yesterday: To continue to create mechanisms to fund the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is disastrous policy and I hope they will reconsider it. But most importantly, European businesses are voting with their checkbooks. They are leaving Iran in droves. These sanctions will be effective, they are effective, and come November 4th, they’ll be even more effective. 

QUESTION: Isn’t it a lot more effective, though, when the world enforces the sanctions than just U.S. sanctions? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’re going to be incredibly effective. You can see it. Today, the rial trades at over 150,000 rial to the dollar. The economy is collapsing. There are two reasons for that. One is certainly the pressure that’s put in place, but most importantly, it’s the total chaos created by the Islamic Republic, Iran’s government. They treat their people horribly, they spend billions of dollars committing terror acts around the world, and they don’t take care of their people. And you see the protests, you see the anger on the streets of Tehran and in the rural areas. That’s a result of terrible government and the Iranian people aren’t going to stand for it, and the American people are going to stand with the Iranian people. 

—Sept. 26, 2018, to Norah O’Donnell of CBS News

 

National Security Advisor John Bolton

“The Iran deal was in fact the worst diplomatic debacle in American history. It did nothing to address the regime’s destabilizing activity or its ballistic missile development and proliferation. Worst of all, the deal failed to achieve its fundamental objective, permanently denying Iran for all paths to nuclear weapons.”

“According to the mullahs in Tehran, we are the great Satan, lord of the underworld, master of the raging inferno. So I might imagine they would take me seriously when I assure them today that if you cross us, our allies or our partners, if you harm our citizens, if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.”

“We will continue to use all legal means to ensure the protection of our citizens… We will not stop pressuring Iran to change its destabilizing behavior.”

“If at any point we determine that the regime is expanding its enrichment activities, the United States stands ready to pursue a panoply of options – whatever may be necessary and appropriate to ensure the regime bears serious consequences for this action.” 

“Iran continues to use hostage-taking as a tool of state policy, in violation of all international laws and norms.”

“Iran must release all Americans and innocent civilians at once.”

“Robert Levinson, whose family I met last week, went missing in Iran over 11 years ago.”

“Siamak Namazi and Xiyue Wang are wrongfully detained in Iran.”

“Numerous other American and Western citizens are held captive by the regime. This shameful and barbaric practice must end, and Iran must return our Americans and other innocent civilians at once.”

“The ayatollahs have a choice to make. We have laid out a path toward a bright and prosperous future for all of Iran, one that is worthy of the Iranian people, who have long suffered under the regime's tyrannical rule.”

“The European Union is strong on rhetoric and weak on follow through.”

“[W]e will be watching the development of this structure that does not exist yet and has no target date to be created.”

“We do not intend to allow our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else.”

“The United States is not naïve.”

"We will not be duped, cheated or intimidated. The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over. The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you."

“The Trump administration has launched a pressure campaign to counter [IRGC Commander Qassem] Soleimani's insidious design.”

—Sept. 25, 2018, in a speech at the United Against Nuclear Iran Summit

 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Among the topics that [U.N. Security Council] meeting will cover are North Korea, Syria, and Iran.  You can bet the President will have well-deserved strong words for the Iranian regime, which is among the worst of violators of U.N. Security Council resolutions, if not the absolute worst in the world.  He'll call on every country to join our pressure campaign in order to thwart Iran's global torrent of destructive activity.  

QUESTION: Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Secretary Pompeo, my name is Majeed Gly.  I'm from Rudaw Media Network.  I have a question for you, Ambassador Bolton, or Secretary Pompeo, to answer questions about Iraq.  

Ambassador Haley last week elaborated very well at the Security Council of how Iran is practically taking over Iraq and influencing what's going on there.  Iran now is appointing the Speaker of the Parliament.  They're planning to appoint the Prime Minister of Iraq.  They're taking over the country.  What is the U.S. planning to do in order to counter Iranian influence?  Do you have specific plans with that regard?  

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.  You're speaking about the Iraqi government formation process?  Yes, sorry, I wanted to make sure I had the question right.  

This administration took over at time when Qassem Soleimani and the Ayatollah were running rampant through five capitals in the Middle East.  And we have engaged in significant activity that has begun to counter the Iranian threat.  Today they remain the world's largest state sponsor of terror.  It is our fervent effort to make sure that that not remain the case.  

We've put a number of restrictions in place.  We will re-impose another set of sanctions come this November.  Our actions in and around the Middle East have made clear we will not continue to accept Iran's bad behavior.

QUESTION: Rudy Giuliani over the weekend called for regime change in Iran.  Does that follow with the Trump administration's desires of policy?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON:  As I've said repeatedly, regime change in Iran is not the administration's policy.  As Mike Pompeo just said, we've imposed very stringent sanctions on Iran.  More are coming.  

And what we expect from Iran is massive changes in their behavior.  And until that happens, we will continue to exert what the President has called "maximum pressure."  That's what we intend to do.

—Sept. 24, 2018, at a press briefing in New York
 

PompeoSECRETARY POMPEO: We have real risk to outside agents trying to do harm to America. There is no mistake about that. There are many countries seeking to meddle in our elections: the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans. And certainly, what the Russians did in 2016 are all clear indications that there are those who want to undermine American democracy. And we have an obligation, both the intelligence community, our military, our diplomats, all of the U.S. Government, to prevent that from ever happening.

QUESTION: Finally, there was an attack on a military parade in Iran this weekend in which at least 24 people were killed, and your Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Zarif, blames it on the U.S. Did the U.S. play any role in that attack? And do you have any plans, or does the President have any plans, to meet with Iranian officials this next week at the UN General Assembly?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Let me take your second question first. I don’t know that there are any plans to date. The President has been pretty clear: If there are constructive conversations to be had with the Iranians, the President is happy to have them. He’d be willing to do so.

QUESTION: Even with President Rouhani this week?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, the leader of the country is Ayatollah Khamenei. That’s who is running the show in Iran. I think that would be an important and interesting conversation. With respect to --

QUESTION: Wait, I mean, are you just – is that talk, or are you just saying you would like, the President would like, to meet with the Ayatollah?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The President has said he’ll talk with anyone if we can a constructive conversation. We want Iran to stop being the largest – the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. But make no mistake about it; there is no indication that they have any intent of doing this. Just this past couple weeks, they’ve come after American interests inside of Iraq, in Basra and in Baghdad.

And with respect to the attacks overnight, I saw the comments of Zarif. When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake. And the loss of innocent life is tragic, and I wish Zarif would focus on keeping his own people secure rather than causing insecurity all around the world.

—Sept. 23, 2018, in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News

 

QUESTION: The President is going to be hosting a Security Council meeting on nonproliferation, but he’s tweeting today it’s really about Iran. Are you signaling in a lot of your policies that you really want a soft regime change, or a real regime change? Do you see Rouhani from Iran – President Rouhani – meeting with the President of the United States? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ve made very clear that regime change is not President Trump’s policy. We’ve laid out what it is we want from the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s pretty straightforward, Andrea. How about this: For starters, stop launching missiles into Riyadh, arming Hizballah, and threatening Israel. How about ceasing to be the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. These are simple demands that we make of every country in the world, and that’s what we’re looking for from Iran as well. When the Islamic regime makes that change, we’ll be happy to have a conversation with them. President Trump’s made that very clear. But there’s no signs that they’re backing off continuing their terror threats around the world. 

—Sept. 21, 2018, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC

 

QUESTION: Okay, let’s move to Iran, and particularly Iraq and Syria. You’ve had two attacks by Iranian-backed militias in U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq. The U.S. has said that it’s going to make sure all Iranian troops are going to leave Syria and is willing to stay the course. Are we headed towards a confrontation with Iran? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Iran has been confronting the world as the world’s largest state sponsor of terror for quite some time. 

QUESTION: It seems there was an escalation, though. 

SECRETARY POMPEO: They have armed militias – the Lebanese Hizballah, Kata'ib Hizballah, and militias in Iraq. They’re arming the Houthis in Yemen, launching missiles into the Gulf states. The United States has begun to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran to prevent them from doing this. That’s our mission. And it is true, Elise, we have told the Islamic Republic of Iran that using a proxy force to attack an American interest will not prevent us from responding against the prime actor. That is, we will not let Iran get away with using a proxy force to attack an American interest. Iran will be held accountable for those incidents. 

QUESTION: Even militarily? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: They’re going to be held accountable. If they’re responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we’re going to go to the source. 

QUESTION: And you criticized Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary Kerry, for his meetings with Iran, saying he needs to get off the stage. But can you tell me, how is this jeopardizing your efforts right now? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: No American – and in particular no former Secretary of State – should be actively seeking to undermine the foreign policy of the United States of America. You know, frankly, this was Secretary Kerry’s problem. He always refused to treat our enemies like enemies. And here he is today as the former Secretary of State telling our adversaries – the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, people who are conducting assassination attempts in Europe – just wait out this administration, giving foreign policy advice directly contrary to what President Trump is trying to achieve on behalf of America. 

—Sept. 21, 2018, in an interview with Elise Labott of CNN

 

QUESTION: On Iran, Germany’s foreign minister has suggested that Europe should work around the U.S. dollar. Russian companies are trying to do the same. Is there a risk to the dominance of the U.S. dollar as these countries try to evade U.S. sanctions? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to be the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. We are determined to stop that behavior and to change the way the Iranian regime inflicts horrors all around the world. A good piece of that was the President’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, which to him and to me made no sense whatsoever, to begin to reimpose costs on Iran so that they don’t have the wealth, the contacts around the world, and the capacity to inflict harm on the American people and others around the world. We’re looking for our European partners to join us, but we have a big coalition that understands that these sanctions make sense and will continue to assist us in enforcing them. 

QUESTION: Are the European countermeasures effective, though? Are they blunting U.S. policy? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: If you just watch the traffic, it’s one-way. Folks are leaving Iran, including European businesses. And so I am very confident that we will ultimately be effective in enforcing the sanctions that President Trump has asked us to reimpose.

—Sept. 21, 2018, in an interview with Rich Edson of Fox News

 

QUESTION: You may have been told, Mr. Secretary, that I want to mostly focus on North Korea, but just a quick question about the latest news: We understand that the Security Council meeting next week is about nonproliferation. The President had just tweeted that he’s going to chair a meeting on Iran. So what’s the meeting about? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: So Iran will certainly be a topic. The meeting is on a broader set of nonproliferation issues, but the world should know Iran leads the charge when it comes to the risk of proliferation. They continue to be the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and they continue the programs that have threatened the world for so long. The President’s determined to push back against them, and the meeting that he will chair next week will be centered on ensuring that nonproliferation is at the top of the world’s agenda.

—Sept. 21, 2018, in an interview with Barbara Plett Usher of BBC

 

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

JAKE TAPPER: The Iranian regime is blaming other nations, including the United States, for a terrorist attack on Saturday where gunman killed at least 29 people in a military parade. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier today -- quote -- "It is America who supports these little mercenary countries in the region. It is Americans who are provoking them. It is Americans who provide them with their required necessities to perpetrate such crimes. The government is ready to counter any action by the U.S., and the Americans will regret this."

Rouhani is going to be in New York this coming week. Are President Trump and Rouhani going to meet? And what does the president plan to say about these allegations? 

NIKKI HALEY: Well, we will welcome Rouhani, like we welcome all other heads of state. 

But I think that, again, what you're seeing is, you have got a lot of rhetoric coming from Rouhani. The United States condemns any terrorist attack anywhere, period. We have always stood by that.

I think what Rouhani needs to do is, he needs to look at his own home base. He's got -- the Iranian people are protesting. Every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes to his military. He has oppressed his people for a long time. And he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that's coming from. 

I think the Iranian people have had enough, and that's where all of this is coming from. But, having said that, he can blame us all he wants, but the thing he's got to do is look in the mirror. 

TAPPER: Well, speaking of looking at one's own home base, the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared at an Iranian opposition event in New York last night and said that U.S. sanctions could lead to a successful revolution in Iran.

According to Reuters, Giuliani said -- quote -- "I don't know when we're going to overthrow them, but it's going to happen."

What are the Iranians supposed to think when one of the president's closest advisers is out there saying that there's going to be regime change in Iran?

HALEY: Listen, Rouhani's closest advisers have not said anything kind about the United States. 

This is what happens. I mean, there is no love for Iran here in the United States, and there's no love for the United States in Iran. And both sides are going to go back and forth. 

At the end of the day, what we have said is, Iran had a terrible deal, and the fact that they were getting hundreds of billions of dollars, they were continuing to do ballistic missile testing, they were continuing to support terrorism, and they were continuing to sell arms. 

Every conflict that we have, we see Iran's fingerprints, whether it's in Yemen, whether it's in Iraq, whether we're looking at what's happening in Syria.

The goal of what we want to try and do is make sure that we defeat ISIS. We will do that. We want to get the Iranian influence out. We're trying to do that. And we want to make sure that we hold Iran to account.

They're going to come up with a lot of different things, but, at the end of the day, Iran is not a good actor, and they have got a lot of soul-searching to do. And the international community needs to hold them to account. 

TAPPER: So, how seriously should they take it, the Iranians, when they hear the president's close adviser Rudy Giuliani saying there's going to be regime change?

HALEY: I -- look, the United States is not looking to do a regime change in Iran. We're not looking to do regime change anywhere. 

What we are looking to do is protect Americans, protect our allies and make sure that we do everything we can to stop it. And the president has been very strong on Iran. He's been very strong that we can't turn away from them, that they are a bad actor. 

And you will continue to see him strong in terms of every action we take from there. Iran's economy has plummeted because the president pulled out of the deal. They're getting desperate. And I think we're seeing the actions of that.

—Sept. 23, 2018, on CNN’s “State of the Union

 

Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook 

Brian HookQUESTION:  Brian, has the United States sought any meetings with Iran over the past month or so through diplomatic channels?  Perhaps not at the head of state level but at other levels?

MR HOOK:  There have been no efforts.  Everything that is being said is being said publicly.  When the President talks and the Secretary of State talks and says that we have an ear open, we are happy to meet and to discuss the kinds of things that we’re seeking and the kinds of things that we’re willing to do in return.  And this is a regime – the ayatollah has said that we require hostility with the United States.  We require hostility.  This is an aspect of revolutionary regimes which makes it difficult to get to the table.

Iran historically comes to the table after extensive pressure, and so everything that is being said is being said publicly.  There’s been no shortage of tweets from Rouhani today and Zarif and others, and so it’s all been out in the open.

QUESTION:  Wait, just real quickly, sorry.  To follow up, Rouhani, though, said that the U.S. is seeking talks with --

MR HOOK:  We publicly said that we – we will talk with the Iranian regime about all of their malign behavior.  We would like to get a new agreement with Iran that is not limited to the nuclear program, but that covers the entire range of threats.  And we’ve also said publicly what we are willing to do in return.

QUESTION:  So Europe, it’s – is it a family squabble or – which you all have been saying for a long time or – after the speeches today or is it a serious breach?  And is it worth this serious breach with your allies to put this increased pressure on Iran?

MR HOOK:  The Secretary said today that he is deeply disappointed to hear Federica Mogherini talk about setting up a special payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions and he spoke about that in his speech today.  The truth of the matter is that the private sector around the world has understood our sanctions message very clearly.  We will vigorously and aggressively enforce our sanctions in order to put maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.

The private sector has heard this message around the world and that’s why you see major companies from Europe to Asia getting out of Iran and terminating business.  And so companies have a choice to either do business in Iran or in the United States.  And they are making those decisions based on what makes business sense.  Potential deals with Iran just pale in comparison with deals in the United States.

And so I don’t want to speculate about specific hypothetical business transactions and what would be sanctionable, but as the Secretary said our policy is that regardless of what kind of special purpose vehicle or other mechanism is created, the United States will vigorously enforce our sanctions, and the private sector understands this.  We have had road shows that have gone to almost 30 countries around the world explaining the re-imposition of our sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA.  The private sector understands this.  You’ve had well over a hundred major corporations long before yesterday’s announcement about – or today’s about a special vehicle.

I think there is more daylight between European companies and the EU than there is between the U.S. and our European allies.

QUESTION:  How are your relations with Europe?

MR HOOK:  They’re very strong.  I’m in regular communication and so is the Secretary with the UK, France, Italy, Croatia, Italy, Latvia – I mean, the list goes on.  I’m doing meetings here with my three counterparts.  We’ve got a lot of work to do together and we share a similar threat assessment in many ways, and I think we all understand that Iran’s missile proliferation is a problem that is getting worse, not better, and we need to get after it.

QUESTION:  The United States and Iran relationship has any impact to Afghanistan situation?  Because we are close neighbors. And also there is report that Iran support Taliban also.

MR HOOK:  We talked about that earlier today about Iran’s support for the Taliban.  When the Secretary was doing a tour around the world, Afghanistan is also an area where Iran has prolonged suffering, exacerbated tensions there in their support for the Taliban.  

QUESTION:  Brian, is there anything that the U.S. can do to stop this special – this SPV that the Europeans are talking about?  I mean, that could really undermine what the U.S. is trying to do.

MR HOOK:  It can’t undermine it. Because the revenue – what we’re talking about is so small that it’s insignificant.  All the major corporations have made their decisions to leave the Iranian market.  It’s all out there in the public.  You can see all the European companies that have made their decision.  And they’re doing it because they’re making their decisions based on business.  And so as I said earlier, companies have a choice either to do business in Iran or in the United States.  Very few companies are going to choose Iran over the United States, and so that’s just the economic reality.  And so I really don’t think we need to spend a lot of time on special purpose vehicles.  It’s – I really – there’s some risk of, like, over-emphasizing its importance.  Certainly, Federica Mogherini can talk about that, but we just don’t see it as a big factor.

QUESTION:  Going around the idea of a special purpose vehicle to a larger point about Europe, which is it’s been a chilly relationship, obviously, and they’ve been a little – have a bit of a cold shoulder since the U.S. pulled out of the deal.  But don’t you need Europe moving forward?  If the goal here is to really counteract Iranian malign behavior on the nuclear deal, don’t you need in the end European sanctions, European pressure, worldwide pressure if Iran – if you are going to get Iran to the table, which the President and you have suggested as well as one of the goals?

MR HOOK:  I think the sanctions that we have in place and other sanctions that exist around the world – and our sanctions are going to be increasing come November – Iran generally comes to the table, and historically it’s been the case they respond to pressure.  And so we believe that Iran is going to be faced with a choice of either continuing along their current path or facing – or facing much deeper economic isolation.

The Secretary today made the point that trying to bypass U.S. sanctions is counterproductive because you’re sustaining revenues to the regime.  And by doing that you are helping Iran maintain its status as the number-one state sponsor of terror in the world.  Look at something like Yemen.  They have given hundreds of millions of dollars to the Houthis, and they have provided UAVs, they have provided explosive boat technologies, and they’ve supplied hundreds of missiles.  The hundreds of millions of dollars that they’ve given to Yemen has intensified, prolonged, and deepened the conflict.  That money comes from commercial revenues, and we have no interest in punishing companies per se.  We work backwards from our end states of our national security objectives to deny Iran the hundreds of millions of dollars that it needs to make Yemen even worse than it otherwise would be.

QUESTION:  If you want pressure on Iran, right, don’t you need European help with that?  Don’t you need to work with Europe to target those other things?

MR HOOK:  Yeah, we are. Setting up some sort of alternative mechanism for whatever business is left over in Iran does not change that.  We are still working very closely with the Europeans.

QUESTION:  So today when Bolton was speaking, there was quite a bit of rhetoric there, and obviously the U.S. and Iran exchanged a lot of barbs, but some of the words he was using – “there will be hell to pay,” “we’re coming after you” – what is behind those threats?  Is that stopping an economic pressure, or are you trying to send a different message?

MR HOOK:  No, it’s consistent with what the President said recently after there were attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Baghdad and in Basra.  And the President said that we don’t make a distinction between Iran and its militias that it organizes, trains, and equips, and commands.  And he has promised swift and decisive action if there is any injury to our diplomatic facilities or to our American personnel.  And so I think that this is a restatement of what the President said in a recent statement after the attacks in Iraq.

QUESTION:  In the Rouhani speech, he actually said, called out the U.S. for essentially looking for regime change or trying to go after the government.  Do you not see any equivalency in that idea?

MR HOOK:  An equivalency between what Ambassador Bolton said and what?

QUESTION:  Well, the idea of trying to – do you believe that there is any truth to the idea that these threats seem to be aimed at changing the Iranian regime.

MR HOOK:  Oh.  No, no, no.  No, no, no.  We – the future of Iran is up to the Iranian people.  Our policy is to change the behavior of the regime, and the future of Iran is up to the Iranian people.  We stand with them, we support their reforms, we support their demands for a better way of life.  You see the protestors saying, “Please remember us when you’re off funding everything in Syria.”  The violent misadventures that Iran has engaged in around the Middle East; I think that you’re seeing an increasing overlap between what the Iranian people are asking the regime to stop doing and what we are asking the regime to stop doing.

QUESTION:   Do you see a contradiction between the president’s comments today where he talks about, hey, you respect our sovereignty and we’ll respect yours, and then essentially demanding that Iran do exactly what the United States wants it to do? 

MR HOOK:  On the first one, in terms of sovereignty, Iran is the last revolutionary regime on Earth.  It does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors or any nation.  It doesn’t recognize citizenship of other Shias who are members of other nations in the Middle East.  So this is a regime that in its constitution does not respect the sovereignty of other nations, and when you look at the 12 demands that Secretary Pompeo has made as a path to a functioning, normal bilateral relationship with the United States, those 12 demands are what we would ask of any normal country.:  On the first one, in terms of sovereignty, Iran is the last revolutionary regime on Earth.  It does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors or any nation.  It doesn’t recognize citizenship of other Shias who are members of other nations in the Middle East.  So this is a regime that in its constitution does not respect the sovereignty of other nations, and when you look at the 12 demands that Secretary Pompeo has made as a path to a functioning, normal bilateral relationship with the United States, those 12 demands are what we would ask of any normal country.

And so I think on – as a matter of sovereignty, the Secretary’s speech today – it’s an outlaw regime – there probably isn’t any regime around today that has violated the UN Security Council more times than this regime.

QUESTION:  Should Iran continue to abide by the terms of the JCPOA?

MR HOOK:  We have made our decision in our national capacity to leave the Iran nuclear deal because we did – we thought it was a bad deal and it was insufficient, it was too narrow, it didn’t address the entire range of Iran’s behaviors.  We are seeking a new deal, preferably a treaty – well, something that will, unlike the last agreement, endure beyond the administration, and that agreement would include nukes, missiles, terrorism, arbitrary detention of Americans.

QUESTION:  But until then, should Iran abide by the JCPOA?

MR HOOK:  We think Iran should have a peaceful nuclear program and end its wishes, hopes, and dreams to become a nuclear weapon state.

QUESTION:  With enrichment?

MR HOOK:  The Secretary has said – if you look at the first demand of the 12 it’s to end enrichment, which was a Chapter 7 UN Security Council resolution prior to the JCPOA.  International law that Iran is prohibited from enriching, we need to restore that standard.  One of the things that people talk about the JCPOA and it stopped – it prevented setting off an arms race in the Middle East.  When you lift the prohibition on enrichment, you risk setting off an arms race in the Middle East, and so we are restoring the standard of zero enrichment, which was the right and necessary thing to do.

QUESTION:  Two simple questions.  Do you have any plans to regime changing Iran?  Rudy Giuliani said yes many of times.  And how you can stop Iranian influence in Iraq, and especially in Iraqi Kurdistan?  You know Iran strongly try to divide it, KRG.

MR HOOK:  We condemn the missile attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan.  Those were ballistic missiles shot from inside of Iran, violating the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan.  Another example of Iran – the risk of missile proliferation as it – I mean, this is – these are missiles shot from inside of Iran at a political meeting in northern Iraq.  And so when I talk about the risk that we’re accumulating, I’m talking about these sorts of things.  And we really need to start getting more serious and restoring deterrence.  We have to restore deterrence against Iran’s missile proliferation.

QUESTION:  TThey basically singled out Qasem Soleimani and said we will use every tool available to go after Qasem Soleimani.  That sounded as if Qasem Soleimani is already seen as being an actor responsible for attacks on (inaudible).

MR HOOK:  Well, Iran did nothing to stop the attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Iraq.  Qasem Soleimani has been organizing and training and equipping these Shia militias in Iraq for over a decade, and this is why we don’t make a distinction between Iran and its proxies.  Even in something like Syria alone, you have 2,500 Iranians in Syria and they – they manage 10,000 Shiite fighters, and this is what the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps does, going back to my original point that this is a revolutionary regime.  Their guard corps is revolutionary, so no surprise that we find them all over the Middle East and beyond.  

So looking at Iraq with Soleimani, the IRGC is responsible for so much violence and bloodshed in the Middle East, and as part of restoring our deterrence, we will be focusing on him and his operations.

QUESTION:  In a military sense?  Are they using every available tool (inaudible)?

MR HOOK:  I think it speaks for itself.

QUESTION:  Rouhani today said that the U.S. sanctions as a result of getting out of the nuclear deal are going to harm not just Iran but nations in the region.  What is your reaction to that?  And also, there was an Iraqi delegation in Washington last week talking about this specific thing and how to avoid being harmed by these sanctions, so can you give us any details on how those talks are going? 

MR HOOK:  Yeah.  Instead of peddling paranoid conspiracy theories about its economy and blaming others, they just need to look in the mirror of 39 years of economic mismanagement.  The longest-suffering victims of the Iranian regime are the Iranian people.  President Rouhani knows that.  The promises of the revolution have not been delivered. 

QUESTION:  And what about the Iraqis?  How are you going to prevent them from being sanctioned for having energy relations with Iran?

MR HOOK:  Well, our energy sanctions don’t go back into place until early November, and we’re in discussions with countries on a case-by-case basis about the reimposition of our sanctions and we’re taking these things on a country-by-country basis, but I think everybody knows that our goal is to get the import of Iranian oil as close to zero as possible.

QUESTION:  So the U.S. has blamed Iran for the attacks in Basra.  Iran has blamed U.S.-backed allies and, by extension, the U.S. for the Ahvaz shooting attack.  Do you think that this is something that could escalate into eventual armed conflict?  You’ve talked about rising risk, and Ahvaz seems pretty dangerous.

MR HOOK:  Iran has been repressing Arab minorities who live inside of Iran for a very long time.  It’s been brutal and severe repression.  Instead of blaming the United States and the Saudis and the Israelis, whoever they blame, it’s so predictable it’s laughable.  They need to be worried more about protecting the security of their own people than blaming others.

QUESTION:  Following on from the question about potential divisions with the EU, with European allies, are you considering the possibility of an open conflict face-to-face between President Trump and Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, tomorrow at the Security Council meeting?  And if so, how damaging would that be?

MR HOOK:  It’s a hypothetical that I don’t think we have to entertain.  The President gets along very well with the leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and I think at all levels of government, especially in the State Department, the National Security Council, we have almost daily contact with our E3 allies.

QUESTION:  And then on the oil, are you concerned at all about the oil price possibly getting too high that you aren’t going to be able to kind of calibrate with the Saudis’ production and pricing and so on?  Are you confident that --

MR HOOK:  We will ensure prior to the re-imposition of our sanctions that we have a well-supplied oil market. 

QUESTION:  And how will you categorize a peaceful nuclear program?  You just said – how do you categorize it like a peaceful nuclear program?

MR HOOK:  Well, we know what it looks like when a nation wants to denuclearize.  We have many examples of this around the world.  There’s been countries in Africa, Western – and South America, Europe.  We know what a country – we know the different markers of what denuclearization looks like.  Storing an atomic archive with an armed guard in the middle of Tehran does not look like you’ve given up your intent to achieve your status as a nuclear weapons state.  And so I think discovering a half a ton of materials that were protected and preserved made the sunset clauses even more relevant.  Iran has not earned the trust to have restrictions on its nuclear program lifted, and that was, I think, the most fundamental deficiency of the Iran nuclear deal, is it lifted restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.  Iran has not earned the trust to have those lifted.

QUESTION:  To follow up on the question on the UN Security Council meeting tomorrow, how do you think this kind of meeting can help when you could be isolated from the other four members, permanent members of the council, at least on the sanctions question?

MR HOOK:  The only differences in isolation is over us being out of the Iran nuclear deal.  And so we have a very similar threat assessment.  I don’t think anybody would – anybody in Europe is going to argue that Iran’s missile proliferation is something they’re unconcerned about or that Iran’s terrorism, their support for proxies, what they’re doing to destabilize Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, no one thinks the status quo is something favorable.  
And so we have our differences over the Iran nuclear deal.  We made a decision in our national capacity.  Those who want to preserve the Iran deal have their own decisions to make.  But we do not think that the Iran deal should be preserved at the expense of addressing the other range of Iran’s regional behaviors.  
And so tomorrow in the UN Security Council, it’s a thematic discussion on nonproliferation, and North Korea and Iran are two very different nonproliferation priorities.  We certainly – we’ve had 27 years of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, and the President now and Secretary Pompeo have been talking about our new strategy to engage North Korea.  I deal with Iran.  And so on the Iran piece, we cannot allow Iran to achieve what North Korea has been able to achieve.  It’s very important for us to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon – this regime, that this regime never acquires a nuclear weapon.

QUESTION:  Sorry, just to quickly follow up on that, can you be a little bit more specific about what it is you are working with the Europeans on?  (Inaudible) talk before (inaudible)?

MR HOOK:  When I was in – when I was working with the E3 to address the deficiencies of the Iran nuclear deal, half of our time was spent on addressing those deficiencies.  The other half of our time was spent addressing all the non-nuclear aspects, all the rest of the threat matrix that Iran presents, and that includes everything that’s in that new report we put out.  It’s cyber.  It’s maritime aggression.  It’s terrorism.  It’s illicit finance.  It’s human rights abuses.  It’s the arbitrary detention of foreigners.  These are the things that we talk about with our European friends, but we talk about it – I just had a very good meeting with someone from the Argentina foreign ministry.  They were the victims of the worst terrorism attack in Argentina’s history, perpetrated by the Iranians.  
So we have discussions with a number of countries about the range of threats that Iran presents, and we don’t hear people disagreeing on the threat assessment.  Now, everybody – it’s natural in diplomacy.  You’re going to have differences of agreement on how we address those threats.  But we start from a very strong foundation of agreement on the threat assessment.

QUESTION:  So are there discussions on multilateral sanctions, for example, on ballistic missiles or something, things that there were discussions about before withdrawal?

MR HOOK:  I don’t want to say anything more about – I don’t want to get into the private deliberations.  I just wanted to make the sort of broader point that there is a shared – in many ways.  I don’t want to overstate it.  I’m just saying that when you look at the various threats to peace and – President Macron talked about the four pillars.  The first pillar was JCPOA.  But those other pillars involved the things that I’m talking about with you tonight.  And that’s an example of the kinds of things that we’re discussing with our great friends in Paris.  

—Sept. 25, 2018, to reporters in New York

 

Updated