The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday, July 19, that the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif “either didn’t know or lied” about the downing of an Iranian drone in the Persian Gulf.
Speaking at a news conference in Buenos Aires with Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, Pompeo repeated that a U.S. warship had destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
“It went down. And the fact that Foreign Minister Zarif either didn’t know or lied about it, I can’t account for. It happened,” said Pompeo.
Sec Pompeo in Argentina comments on downing of Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz: “It went down, and the fact that Foreign Minister Zarif either didn’t know or lied about it, I can’t account for. It happened.” https://t.co/MAN8agJnd4 via @Elizabeth_McLau #Iran pic.twitter.com/TBRrLKjSRO
— Liveuamap MiddleEast (@lummideast) July 19, 2019
The U.S. secretary of state commented that even the Argentines are focused on the situation with Iran.
“Today, what you saw, the announcement from Argentina, the work that we did is that we have many nations around the world who are now speaking the truth about the Islamic Republic of Iran, about its global campaign of terror and the malign activity that it has taken around the world,” said Pompeo to journalists.
Pompeo reiterated what President Donald J. Trump had repeated earlier on Friday afternoon at the White House, while he was sitting in the Oval Office for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary event.
When questioned by reporters about the downing of the Iranian drone, President Trump said, “No doubt about it, no. We shot it down.”
The president called on the U.S National Security Adviser John Bolton to elaborate. “There’s no question that this was an Iranian drone and the USS Boxer took it out as the president announced yesterday because it posed a threat to the ship and its crew,” said Bolton.
Shortly after President Trump made the announcement in Washington on Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister told reporters at the United Nations in New York that he had “no information about losing a drone today.”
Pompeo said he saw Zarif’s comments in New York and continued, “I would welcome the opportunity to get access to the Iranian media in the same way he gets access to the American media.”
Talking to reporters at the Buenos Aires news conference, Pompeo said despite talks, Iran has continued to pursue their nuclear program. He stated that Zarif met with American members of Congress for many years.
But “during those many years they’ve continued to build out their missile program, conduct terror around the world and continue to advance the capacity to build out a nuclear weapons program that threatens the world,” said Pompeo.
“President Trump will make the decision about how to proceed,” said Pompeo. “He’s made it clear we’re prepared to conduct negotiations with no preconditions,” continued the U.S. Secretary of State.
U.S. officials said the Iranian drone was not shot down with a missile. The drone’s take-down was done by electronic jamming from a device on board the U.S Navy warship that allegedly was threatened by the unmanned aircraft.
On late Friday afternoon, speaking to the press at the White House South Lawn, President Trump said Iran is “nothing but trouble” and that “the ridiculous agreement made by President Obama” with Iran will soon expire.
“When you’re dealing in countries, you have to deal in 50 years and 100 years, you don’t deal in the short term. That was a ridiculous agreement. And it goes to show you I was right about Iran,” said President Trump.