Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to the Middle East Sunday, June 23, where he will work with allies including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to build an international coalition against the Iranian regime.
Iran shot down a U.S. military drone last week and the week before is widely thought to have been behind the attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz as well as multiple attacks across the Middle East in recent months.
Upon his departure Pompeo spoke with the media.
“We’re prepared to negotiate with no preconditions. They know precisely how to find us. And I am confident that at the very moment they are ready to truly engage with us, we’ll be able to begin these conversations,” said Pompeo.
Pompeo said he will begin the trip by meeting with allies in the region including the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia. Both countries have had long-term concerns about the Iranian regime regarding their security.
“I’m heading out today. Our first stops will be in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. Two great allies in the challenge that Iran presents,” he said.
The secretary also stated his plans regarding the building of an international coalition to push back against the Iranian regime, which he called the world’s largest sponsor of state terrorism.
“And we’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition. A coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe that understands this challenge as is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” said the secretary.
This trip to the Middle East and the actions taken by the United States in the past several days including meetings at Camp David and discussions with allies have been the immediate response to the recent aggressions by the Iranian regime but President Trump has stated that the main focus is the larger goal of making sure that Iran does not acquire or build nuclear weapons.
Pompeo commented on the president’s commitment to this since taking office and the increase of sanctions that will begin Monday, which will target Iran’s economy that has been hard hit by sanctions that are already in place.
“You’ll see to that our campaign, that began when President Trump took office will continue. On Monday there’ll be a significant set of new sanctions and the world should know that we will continue to make sure it’s understood that this effort that we’ve engaged in to deny Iran the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapons system, to build out their missile program—we are going to deny them the resources they need to do that, thereby keeping American interests and American people safe all around the world.”
The United States has said that its drone that was shot down last week by the Iranian military was flying in international air space while the Iranian regime said it was in Iranian air space.
Pompeo said that the advanced technology of the United States can prove the location of the drone and said that the Iranian regime is spreading disinformation.
“First, I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that the Iranians are out sewing disinformation in lots of places. First of all you’ve seen that childlike map that Foreign Minister Zarif put out. It contrasts with the excellence and professionalism of America’s military and our intelligence services should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about where that unarmed vehicle was. It was flying in international airspace and we shouldn’t let the Iranians have one moment where any reporter would write that there is even a credible response to the data set that the Americans have put forward.”
Pompeo also repeated a comment he’s made on multiple occasions and which President Trump has stated numerous times as well, saying that a main U.S. focus is to help the Iranian people.
“I’m looking forward to the day that … The president said repeatedly we want a brighter future for the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran, those negotiations are the gateway. That’s how we’ll ultimately achieve this.”