Washington, DC – Today, Secretary of State Pompeo gave a speech directed at the Iranian-American community. His remarks were meant to assure the Iranian diaspora that the Trump Administration stands with the Iranian people — while they implement the “toughest sanctions in history” on Iran and continue to pursue a travel ban policy that prevents Iranians from traveling to the United States. Instead of providing reassurance, however, his speech only underscores the counterproductive nature of this administration’s Iran strategy and parallels efforts by the G. W. Bush Administration to prepare for war in Iraq by exploiting the voices of exiled Iraqis to validate their destabilizing plan.
Data shows that the sanctions regime this administration plans to impose following the President’s decision to violate the JCPOA will hurt the Iranian people — the very people Secretary Pompeo routinely promised to protect — far more than it will impact the IRGC or the government of Iran. And we know that the travel ban has terrible humanitarian consequences for families that stretch across borders and individuals who seek medical care and other critical services in the United States. Finally, these actions by the Trump Administration only strengthen anti-American sentiment and reduce incentives for reform within Iran.
Under previous leadership, the United States successfully negotiated a nuclear agreement with Iran through diplomacy, yet the Trump Administration chose to erode America’s ability to influence positive change in Iran and instead tilt us toward conflict and closer to military intervention, a scenario that would have no winners. Secretary Pompeo stands by these detrimental policies; he cannot credibly claim to also stand by Iranians.