“If Secretary Pompeo wants regional stability, human rights, and an end to U.S. military adventures and endless wars, he would press his boss to return to the Iran deal, pursue and facilitate good-faith diplomacy among all stakeholders, and honor our international agreements.”
On Thursday Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo gave a speech on United States involvement in the Middle East from Cairo, Egypt. Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council took issue with the following section of the Secretary’s address.
Let’s turn to Iran.
President Trump has reversed our willful blindness to the danger of the regime and withdrew from the failed nuclear deal, with its false promises. The U.S. re-imposed sanctions that should never have been lifted. We embarked on a new pressure campaign to cut off the revenues the regime uses to spread terror and destruction throughout the world. We joined the Iranian people in calling for freedom and accountability.
And importantly, we fostered a common understanding with our allies of the need to counteract the Iran regime’s revolutionary agenda. Countries increasingly understand that we must confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them. Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime like never before. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan have all been instrumental in thwarting Iran’s efforts to evade sanctions.
The UAE has canceled its imports of Iranian condensate following the re-imposition of American sanctions. Bahrain has exposed the Revolutionary Guard proxies that are active in its country, and which – and working – is working to stop Iran’s illicit maritime activities in its region. Saudi Arabia, too, has worked with us to counter Iranian expansion and regional influence. We, the United States, commend each of these efforts, and we seek for all nations to continue the work to constrain the full array of the regime’s malign activity.
The work to curb the regime’s deadly ambitions isn’t confined to the Middle East. America’s friends and partners from South Korea to Poland have joined our effort to stop Iran’s wave of regional destruction and global campaigns of terror.
National Iranian American Council Response
The National Iranian American Council sent the following press release to journalists in response to Pompeo’s speech.
Expert Reacts to Sec. Pompeo’s Speech in Cairo on America’s Middle East Policies
Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement after Secretary Pompeo’s speech in Cairo on America’s Middle East policies:
“Secretary Pompeo’s speech failed to outline a coherent strategic logic for the Trump administration’s Middle East policy. If Secretary Pompeo wants regional stability, human rights, and an end to U.S. military adventures and endless wars, he would press his boss to return to the Iran deal, pursue and facilitate good-faith diplomacy among all stakeholders, and honor our international agreements.
“Iran’s government engages in the unconscionable repression of its people and violates its international human rights commitments. Unfortunately, legitimate criticism of the Iranian government’s abuses and support for the Iranian people are undermined by this administration’s hypocrisy – from failing to uphold its own international commitments under the nuclear deal, to shielding the Saudi government from accountability for its killing of Jamal Khashoggi, to banning and sanctioning ordinary Iranians.
“A prudent alternative U.S. policy to the region must be predicated on using diplomacy as the preferred method of advancing U.S. interests, acting consistently on human rights, and ceasing our blank-check support for regional autocrats. A diplomacy-driven U.S. Middle East policy would not turn its back on regional people suffering under the yoke of strongmen or monarchs and would build on the successful diplomatic playbook of the Iran nuclear deal.
“If the administration continues on its current path of reflexively backing despotic regional regimes, simplistically blaming Iran as the source of all regional ills, and jeopardizing U.S. relations with European states seeking to preserve the nuclear accord, it will succeed at little other than fueling instability.”
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The National Iranian American Council (www.niacouncil.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people. We accomplish our mission through expert research and analysis, civic and policy education, and community building.
Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy strongly critiqued Pompeo’s speech.
I want to be careful with how I phrase this, but Pompeo's Cairo speech was one of the worst foreign policy speeches I've witnessed from a senior U.S. official. It was cynical, petty, incoherent, small, and, well, silly
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) January 10, 2019
Paul Danahar who currently runs ‘BBC’s news operation across the Americas’ and former BBC Bureau Chief made the following statement.
US @SecPompeo began his speech declaring he is “an evangelical Christian” and the tone of the speech that follow would not have been out at place in Bible study groups across the US. Its theme was the goodness of Israel and evil of Iran.
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) January 10, 2019
Linda Qiu of The New York Times also completed a fact check of the claims Pompeo made during his address.