Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday night discussed the attacks on the United States’ embassy in Baghdad with Fox News’ Mike Emanuel. According to Pompeo, those who carried out the attacks are terrorists that are backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Well, what you say was Iranian-backed terrorists. Many of them are individuals that have been designated terrorists by the United States and others, coming to the American embassy and posing a risk to the American diplomats and personnel inside the embassy,” Pompeo explained. “You saw President Trump direct a quick, decisive, prudent response by making sure that we had all the resources necessary to keep our people safe and to secure the compound as well.”
“Any plans to evacuate the embassy in Baghdad, sir?” Emanuel asked.
“None,” Pompeo replied.
“Okay. Any plans to pull some of the 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq out?” Emanuel asked.
“None,” Pompeo replied.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon deployed 750 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg that were sent to nearby military bases where they will wait until they are needed in Baghdad. Up to 5,000 troops from the 82nd are reportedly being sent overseas. Emanuel asked about the 82nd being used to “bolster forces in the region.”
According to the Secretary of State, more context has to be given to the situation.
“This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran [being] engaged in global terror campaigns, nuclear weapons dreams and nuclear enrichment capability existing today,” he explained.
Pompeo said that when the Trump administration took over, they inherited a difficult situation.
“The previous administration provided lots of money, lots of money that was used for that nuclear program, lots of money that had been used for terror all around the world, to develop their missile program,” he said. “The Trump administration has taken a much different view.”
“We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he explained. “We will continue to do so. And you saw the president say today we will continue to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity and we’ll make sure we have the resources to do so.”
Although Pompeo refused to talk about specific actions that can and will be taken against Iran, he reiterated President Trump’s stance that Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will feel America’s power if the situation warrants it.
The Trump administration has continually worked to “convince the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal nation for the entire three years we’ve been in office,” he said.
The Secretary of State said the Iranian people have demanded their political leaders behave differently than they have in the past.
“Unfortunately the Iranians responded by killing hundreds of their own citizens,” he said. “We’ve watched even in Beirut and in Iraq. Even today, there were protestors, it wasn’t in your footage, but there were protestors today. We saw real protestors today, not Iranian-backed militiamen who had been directed to go to the embassy by Qasem Soleimani, but rather real protestors, demanding to say that those folks at the embassy, those aren’t Iraqis.”
Pompeo made it clear that America cares about Iraq and “we want an Iraq that’s free, independent and sovereign.”
Author: Beth Baumann