Secretary of State talks about relations with Iran in Tampa

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored the importance of maintaining pressure on Iran Tuesday during his visit to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Pompeo met with leaders at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to make sure the State Department and Department of Defense are working seamlessly together in a variety of efforts all over the world, including the Middle East. “We certainly discussed the ongoing tension in the Gulf, but we talked about a much broader range of issues. If we’re to deliver, the State Department, on the President’s diplomatic objectives, then we have to be tightly woven with our military,” Pompeo said Tuesday. “We talked about the CENTCOM decision that (Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan) and the president approved to move a thousand more Americans into theater to make sure that we’re in a position to do the right thing, which is to continue to work to convince the Islamic Republic of Iran that we’re serious and to deter them from further aggression in the region.” Minutes after Pompeo boarded his plan and left Tampa, President Trump tweeted that Shanahan would not move forward with his confirmation process, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. The president made no mention of Shanahan being the target of an FBI investigation into a possible incident of domestic violence. “It’s been our mission since the beginning of this administration to convince the Iranian regime not to move forward with their nuclear program and not to continue to engage in development of their missiles and all the other activities, the maligned activities, that they’ve been engaged in around the world,” he added. “We all have to remember, this isn’t just 2 1/2 years or five years, this is 40 years of Iranian activity that has led us to this point and to re-establish deterrence is a challenge but one that I know the Trump administration is up to.” “President Trump does not want war and we will continue to communicate that message while doing the things that are necessary to protect American interests in the region,” Pompeo said. “You have China that depends enormously on energy transiting the Strait of Hormuz, you have South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, all of whom have an enormous interest in assuring there’s freedom of navigation through throughout this waterway. The United States is prepared to do its part, but every nation that has a deep interest in protecting that shipping lane so that energy can move around the world and support their economies needs to make sure they understand the real threat, the real threat to their interests in the region and the real threat to their country’s economies if we’re not successful in doing that.” Pompeo also addressed the president’s recent tweet announcing a plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants starting next week. “It is the case that in May we had over 140,000 illegal immigrants enter this nation unlawfully,” Pompeo told members of the media before boarding his plane. “It is an important undertaking to ensure that we have sovereignty and security at our southern border and so every action that this administration is taking is designed to do just that.”
Published: 6:25 PM EDT June 18, 2019