What a Pompeo State Department means for the Iran Deal

President Trump announced this morning that he will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, a reshuffle that could have serious -- even catastrophic -- consequences for our foreign policy and national security. In this context, we believe it is critical to understand Mr. Pompeo’s view of Iran and the Iran nuclear deal.

While Secretary Tillerson has been no friend to the Iran deal, his departure means that one fewer Cabinet official will be in favor of remaining in the agreement. Mr. Pompeo will be a destabilizing leader for the State Department who is certain to advise the President to withdraw the United States from our obligations under the nuclear agreement and could plunge our nation into another war in the region.

Director Pompeo is a known Iran hawk who prefers military intervention to diplomacy.

Take a look at some of his comments about Iran and the JCPOA:

December 2014: During the final months of negotiations, Pompeo advocated for military intervention rather than diplomacy, which was working:

“In an unclassified setting, it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces,” Pompeo, R-Kan.

July 2015: In his statement on the day the nuclear accord was reached, Rep. Pompeo demonstrated his lack of understanding of diplomacy; he wanted the deal to address all problematic Iranian behaviors, which was not feasible at the time and if the Obama Administration had insisted on negotiating on those other issues no agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear activities would have been reached:

“Instead of taking advantage of crushing economic sanctions to end Iran’s nuclear program, the administration negotiated a deal against the will of the American people that does nothing but give Iran leverage and enable this totalitarian regime to continue growing its terrorist practices... This deal allows Iran to continue its nuclear program — that’s not foreign policy; it’s surrender.”

July 2016: In an op-ed published on Fox News’ websites marking the one-year anniversary of the agreement, it is clear that Congressman Pompeo has a limited understanding of what the agreement does and how it protects America. He willfully misunderstands the so-called sunset clauses and omits the fact that intrusive inspections will continue indefinitely:

“The JCPOA can perhaps delay Iran’s nuclear weapons program for a few years. Conversely, it has virtually guaranteed that Iran will have the freedom to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons at the end of the commitment.”

July 2017: At an event with the Aspen Institute, Pompeo’s hawkish views toward Iran (and disregard for relations with our staunchest allies) were on display when he dangerously chose to take Saudi Arabia’s side to counter Iran in the region while tensions escalated:

“We need all of our partners. Sometimes I hear folks talk about the JCPOA and our partners, and nary a mention of the Saudis, the Emirates, the Israelis, but lots of talk about Germans, and Brits and French, and that's great. They're important partners, too. We need them all working against the continued expansion of the Iranians.”

Oct 2017: Pompeo has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric against Iran, language that is not conducive to diplomacy and proves he is not up to the task of assuming the role of America’s top diplomat:

"Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are the cudgels of a despotic theocracy, with the IRGC accountable only to a Supreme Leader. They're the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East. In recent years, the IRGC has become more reckless and provocative, seeking to exploit the vacuum left by instability in the Middle East to aggressively expand its influence."