Mike Pompeo: Dealing with Iran in a Post-Deal World


I’m very delighted to introduce our
speaker tonight but I also want to welcome two members of his staff or with
us this evening Aaron Rangel legislative assistant and
Raven Thompson my communications advisor for congressman Pompeo who if any of you
have paid attention as a Renaissance man who began as a West Point cadet
graduated first in his class then went on to serve in the cavalry in Germany
and the latter days of the Cold War before the Berlin Wall came down I’m
willing to consider that there was a causal relationship between his service now after leaving active duty a
congressman Pompeo went to Harvard Law School and indeed was the editor of the
Harvard Law Review after practicing law for several years
he returned to his home base in Kansas and founded ther aerospace where he
served as CEO for ten then went on to become president of
century international and oil field and equipment manufacturing and service
companies he then ran for office successfully in Kansas where he has
served the fourth District he’s in his third term he serves on two committees
the Energy and Commerce Committee and a particular interest to our audience here
tonight the House Intelligence Committee he was also appointed to the House
Select than Ghazi committee to investigate the tragic events in
Benghazi and congressman Pompeo was has just
recently returned from the Middle East he was there on a trip in November so
please join me in welcoming him to address the subject of dealing with Iran thank you tonight it is so I he sent the
arms running a business and then ran for Congress I prefer to think was out front
of your business they lost my mind but in those five years I’ve had lots of
opportunities to speak but very seldom do I look out in a group and realize no
you truly are the least talented person on the subject matter about what you’re
about to go pop now and so it is with some trepidation well Bob said will you
come speak to this group and I said well sure but how about if I just come listen
but I so I spent some time thinking about what I might share with you
tonight that would be additive I know you had former director of intelligence
agency here to talk about Iran not too terribly long ago and combine that with
the fact that now four weeks ago I was sitting in my office in Kansas one of
the cool things I get to do is I nominate kids to military academies
right so someone who went to West Point I now get this incredible privilege to
invite talented people from across south-central Kansas who want to pursue
life as an officer in the United States military we have a big Air Force Base
McConnell Air Force Base right here where my office is you can see the
planes fly there’s all these kids want to go to Air Force and I try to tell
them this necessarily military but if you want to go there and learn to fly
that sounds great not very persuasive we’ve actually had
some great young people come through who have turned out to be fabulous officers
the United States Air Force – but I have a group of former officers who come and
lead a panel and I have lunch with them in the middle we do a bunch of the young
people mourning and the rest in the afternoon that’s it we luncheon one of
them asking me about United States policy to Iran after you peel and I
couldn’t answer it I certainly couldn’t answer in the 30 minutes that we had a
lot of night what turned out I hadn’t spent enough time thinking about what
the potential role I know what the ramifications oh I have a pretty good
idea so to you but I didn’t have a chance to sort of think about what are
the tasks that could be undertaken by those of us who care about this so much
and indeed those of us that have the article one responsibilities that are
that is connected to u.s. foreign policy so I thought I’d give a little bit of
history most of which you will know and in terms of the things that I intend to
encourage my colleagues to work on alongside oil in this I used the term
post deal loosely I’ll talk about that but in that post deal world right
president considers this main accompli at this point I don’t believe that it is
and there are a handful of things that I think we can all engage in productively
to get better outcomes for America I I did as pops I just returned from the
Middle East I was in Beirut and the Cobb alley for four days and then traveled to
Israel spent in the West Bank about a day in Tel Aviv in a couple of
days in Jerusalem I was traveling most with the intelligence community on these
trips just before that a couple months earlier I was in Jordan and in northern
Iraq it’s Albany and Erbil and then in
Baghdad for a couple of days and then spent two days in Turkey as
well trying to understand US intelligence posture for a handful
programs that surround the Syrian conflict there and every place I go I
would end in my discussion with the US intelligence folks by asking so tell me
what it is you’re spending most of your timeline and in each of those places in
one of the two top things they were spending common they would answer Iran
didn’t matter in Lebanon or working out in Jerusalem or working in intelligence
operations in northern Iraq they all were deeply located on the activities
around I think that tells us an awful lot I think it also tells a lot about
the enormity the administration’s failure to deal with ayatollah khomeini
for what he really is in my judgment he is truly evil personified and the
ramifications for mischaracterizing the nature of the man are very real and I
think America has to think long and hard about what we’re going to do given that
our president has chosen that but there are some concrete actions I think we can
take assorted I made the assertion moment ago that our intelligence folks
talk about Iran being everywhere I think it’s worth supporting that with a little
bit of data and I do that because the media spotlight has passed on when the
Iran negotiations were going on Fox News CNN the alcohol they wanted to talk to
me about Iran if you hold one of those
outlets today hey I like to come out and talk about around they’ll tell you
there’s a cop shooting in Chicago hmm or Colorado Springs attacked by a crazy man
facility in Colorado Springs the media has truly moved away from this narrative
but it’s my view that you can trace it a lot of the ball tyranny throughout the
Middle East and we have problems that are too many to recount back to 79 back
to the Iranian Revolution they obviously predate that in some respects we’ve had
challenges with Islamic terrorism for an awfully long time that predates 1979 but
I think there was an important point made there which was the Khomeini
overthrow it sends a message a terrifying message that America was was
not capable of rejecting Islamic leadership in certain places in the
world we all know what happened in Iran in the 80s we had administration that
was much more serious than the one we have today but I think the message that
was sent in 1979 was one that we are still living with in 1983 we saw right
we saw has bought a place that I’ve got a chance to go see right the American
Embassy there in Lebanon we got to see where hundreds of Americans were killed
just recently there was an arrest of the man who took down the Khobar towers
almost single-handedly and you read the reporting that this was a fella who’s
been hiding out in Tehran since that moment and I will tell you if he was in
Tehran he probably was not knitting stockings for the Ayatollah
he was probably still engaged in the very act of the very nature of the ones
down the Khobar towers we killed home many Americans that day we know to the
history of the iran-iraq war were a counterbalance to the she Islamist in
Iran was taken down in good measure the core the war you read was fought to a
stalemate but nonetheless I think a descanse the clerical leadership in Iran
in ways that we still today for having to deal with we’ve watched more recently
Iran’s march to control at least good portions of the Middle East and perhaps
even much more broadly they of course still maintain their a lot grip on
Damascus they’re close to having a lot of Griffin and Baghdad the most powerful
force in Iraq today is not the Iraqis it’s not the Americans
it’s the Iranians I won’t spend a lot of time going into that today but I could
prove that out and I think you would all be convinced the numbers today in an
unclassified setting or that Iran has somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 armed
men fighting in northern Syria today today I saw a report that Israel has now
taken action to stop weapons transfers inside of Syria weapons that were headed
for Hezbollah the Iranian who supported terrorists in southern Lebanon Iran at
least admits to nearly each one of these and yet our president would tell you
that this is an ally someone that we can do business with he wouldn’t use the
term allied with go to Webster’s look it up and our behavior would reflect that
these are a group of men that have more than just shared interests but a shared
desire in an outcome right the outcome is for our president to have
we enter the community of nations fool’s errand at best and at worst it is
definitely bad of the outcomes that will happen here in the United States I’ve
seen different numbers in Iraq but the number of folks that the Shia militias
and the pmc have trained there in Iraq far exceeds the number of those that the
United States is training in Iraq when I was in Baghdad I remember asking the
question like how far do I have to leave who’s in what’s the former green zone at
this point how far do I have to go to find the Iranian leadership and this was
obviously an informal setting they’d say oh just go to second floor from the
building you’re on grab a pair of binoculars look around our president
doesn’t talk about the fact that Iran today is the primary motive force for
what’s taking place in the difficulty human America’s found not since the
departure of the United States forces into December of 2011 so I talked about
the current clerical leader there I said I thought he was evil I mean he is a
vicious fanatic they called for the destruction of the Great Satan they make
no mistake about their willingness to come out hands and the way they treat
women is well no we also watched as they have imprisoned at least four Americans
all of whose names you could probably not convinced that our president could
do the same I can assure you that while a president says that in the
negotiations with Iran that this was raised at every meeting anybody ever
been in one of those it was a perfunctory opening to the meeting
probably began with a handshake and then the perfunctory opening statements and
then they got down to negotiations and those negotiations did not include
efforts to return these Americans to United to the United States in spite of
the fact that they held by the bearish regime just before we left Wednesday
before Thanksgiving excuse me on the Friday before Thanksgiving we voted on a
piece of legislation to try and stop Syrian refugees from coming into this
country at least such time as we could identify the risks connected to their
entrance that’s great and we did the right thing that voted for it there’s
much more work to do but none of that gets to the root to the challenge at the
root of the challenges that this president stood by while Syria burned
that six million displaced people’s half of whom mark refugees have a few more
internally displaced our direct result of this president’s failure to take a
set of actors that I think at the time would have been relatively simple
supported by enormous numbers of people all around the world of every faith and
this president simply set by and watched or worse and the worst in my judgment
was making it very clear that he had desired his shift in power that he was
desirous of the fact that Iran would continue to grow increase his scope and
influence in the Middle East this was not only an outcome that he was willing
to tolerate but one that he was willing to promote and I don’t say that lightly
that’s a sharp accusation but nonetheless the evidence absolutely
bears that out when I was in Beirut it’s a dysfunctional government right
today there’s no president that have any capacity even have parlors means they
can’t pick up the trash and when you would talk I think I met with everybody
who believes they’re going to be the next president who’s that it’s a good
thing I had multiple days because it’s a very long list of people but every one
of them will tell you that at the very core of the challenge isn’t simply
Hezbollah that’s a problem it’s the resources provided a Hezbollah
by Iran and it’s around meddling in their internal politics that has
prevented them from figuring a way forward for themselves a nation that for
an awfully long time didn’t have Jeffersonian democracy by any measure
but had a stable capable government that could promote a banking system that
worked in an economy that was passable in spite of the challenges that the
nation faced yet today a peer still may directly result of Iranian influence I
had left about thirty hours before a bomb went off not far from the route
that I drove back I flew commercial in the Beirut International my son thinks
it was I thought the dumbest thing in many different things I remember but you could you could see the
challenge that they’re going to continue to face the capacity now for Lebanon to
move forward with Iranian absences near zero in Israel all anyone wanted to talk
about was the wrong there were terrorists that’s going on there were
night things taking place the Israelis are highly confident that they can
figure their way through the problem of that magnitude they’re convinced that if
they could get the Iranians out from Medellin on behalf of the Palestinians
in the West Bank and providing resources into the West Bank that they could keep
this from becoming the third intifada the Intifada 2.5 but they know this
isn’t a nice little incident there whether it’s Hamas and Gaza receiving
funding or the Iranian providing direct support into the West Bank very very
difficult for them to figure out how to keep they had had full of time to meet
with Prime Minister Netanyahu is there’s the only member of Congress traveling is
for kind of him to take some time out of his schedule spend a few minutes with
one member of Congress but our entire conversation was dominated the agreement
between around we know he was against it he’s certainly in to the nuclear visa
this is a great long-term danger but it is far and away biggest concern is the
terror ramifications that result from an Iranian economy that is now more robust
in hundreds of millions of dollars and resources that will flow nearly directly
to terrorism and to IRG see and it looks like it’s a
commercial entity but for all intents and purposes the kleptocrats of the
average you see will get their hands on before the Iranian people and they know
I could spend a lot of time talking about the failures of the agreement but
I know you all know a lot about that so I won’t when you stare at the thing that
the document that was presented in its entirety whether you come to realize
that it’s very consistent with the president’s desire for Iran to continue
to increase its scope and power in Iran maybe that is the macro flaw that
agreement is the premise it’s the philosophy that underlay all of the
negotiations that took place it made a bit of a big deal a few days ago about a
letter that I received from the state before they got a letter back I said
we’ve sent fifteen or eighteen letters to the State Department we usually get
back nice letters to say thank you for writing we appreciate your interest this
one was more honest it says no this is not a treaty this is not an executive
agreement this is nothing more than a they use the term quote political
commitment and new quote we all knew that but I promise you if you go to
Kansas and I promise you to go into an MSNBC studio they are deeply convinced
that this is an agreement as binding a stark or salt or any of the treaties
that have been executed by the United States and all of history and in fact
what we have is nothing of the sort well we have the failed negotiation and
a deadline that was reason a president who decided to hold a press conference
and announced to the world via joint press release that no party would sign
including the United States that no party was committed to in any material
way and that has no binding force and the matter
national law even for the lefties at the law school which I attended this is
dangerous because Americans don’t understand that if you ask the average
American on the street they said I don’t know we have this agreement we have to
look up the arrange we’ll have to look up as well and if it fails there’s
recourse there was none of that is true it reminded me of that moment and so I
am new to this stage I served in the Army I was a tank platoon leader and
tank company executive officer so I was a knuckle-dragger in mud runner so this
is part of the the foreign policy debate is new to me but when Tom Kahn and I
went and sat down with the IAA in Vienna and we’re told about these two side
agreements to this day no American has read I remember my first thought oh gosh
I didn’t prepare enough for the meeting how could I not have known that these
two documents were out there that we hadn’t had a chance to see them I
thought I read it 159 pages in its entirety I believed I understood most he
wants and then at the number two three four guys that I knew the basis you know
you’re not you’re never going to get to see this agreement that’s deeply
consistent with this president’s underlying philosophy so for all the
shortcomings and technicalities in the agreement is the philosophy that
underlays the agreement that I think will prove the most difficult for
Congress to get you so what do you do Prime Minister Netanyahu I both spoke to
the fact that it is what it is the president has entered into this
arrangement his administration is intent on following through with it there are
elements in the arrangement which undoubtedly
will cause some delay in the Iranian it appears that they are proceeding
apace to disconnect a number of centrifuges against the disconnection of
a centrifuge it’s good there are a handful of other things that be staring
and say that’s good I suspect the Iranians will for the moment do a fair
amount of things that look and feel like a compliance and I assure equally the
American media will report every compliant and the Iranian regime under
tanks the truth is we’ve already seen and we will see again in now two weeks
two weeks from today roughly we will see the first failure of the process we will
see a report issued by the IAEA then deems the deems to explain the history
of the Iranian nuclear program their so-called previous military dimensions
of their weaponization efforts secretary mano in an attempt to protect
himself made a statement three days ago which was very clear he doesn’t have any
ability to certify one way or the other the history of the Iranian
weatherization program and what when he writes in this report and so what you’ll
see is a report that says hey I think we know and it’s not as bad as you will
have my name in there but that will be the trigger to move in its
implementation and the relief of the sanctions which lie at the core the
commitments that the United States made so what do we do how do we push back on
this for at least what’s the next 13 months they take a little while for the
new president to come in office and we may not get a president
who has a different view we should all be mindful of that as well we could end
up with a third term of the Obama administration with respected how Iran
not to be deal when there is one candidate who was the Secretary of State
this president who was responsible for most of these policies as well there’s
no reason to expect that were she to be elected she would take any different
approach with respect to the clerical regime so step one that’s always speak
up about it sometimes I tire my staff I think members of Congress have an
obligation to talk about this incessant and demand and that it be covered such
that the American people understand the risk that is presented to them I have
not yet mentioned Isis or Al Qaeda or Al Shabaab or any of the terrorism threats
that we face I don’t believe any of them can be resolved absent a resolution the
proper role of Iran in the Middle East so we have to talk about that I’ve got
to ensure there are a number of tasks Congress can take with respect to
designating terrorists I could go through a long list here but certainly
we ought to get the IRGC the primary force in a killing of 500 Americans
interrupting the war there and we ought to get them to be designated but that’s
a foreign terrorist organization Treasury Department’s done a little bit
they have designated that could spores they you has frankly done better than we
have in some material respects and all of that will vanish Congress can do that
we can pass legislation that would make that happen
I won’t talk about this but I am also convinced that when we do these things
and you’ll see my list I’m convinced that there are 150 Democrats or looking
for a soul cleansing because they recognize that they
the tank for this administration have made an enormous mistake in correcting
around this power they too are on the hook for this deal not because having
voted differently on corporate carbon would have changed this president’s
action in any material way I don’t know that it would have but they had a chance
had an opportunity to voice their displeasure that and they didn’t I think
many of them are now looking for chances to do precisely what it is I’m
describing here because the third thing is there is no complete map yet of the
IRGC criminal enterprise and there’s certainly no map of the IRGC s terror
enterprise we ought to undertake that we ought to ask our intelligence community
and the State Department to map out every one of the businesses that has an
economic interest that is owned by any member of the IRGC not hard work we
could complete it in short order we have to turn their attention to the
congressman and make them do something it is that simple now speaking to a
handful of people earlier represent of Roskam and represent ourselves and and I
have introduced legislation that I believe will come to the floor of the
house before too terribly long that will give every one of our 50 state attorney
generals increased power to put sanctions at the state level on the
Iranian regime they’re not broad in scope they are they are not the
sanctions that I’ve just referred to with respect to these terrorists but
they can do a handful of things which will happen enormous impact on Iran’s
economy and after all just like our economy that better it is the more
wealth is created the greater capacity we have to defend ourselves Iran in his
note to the extent we can slow their economy
we can decrease their capacity so they tear around the world all those nuclear
scientists that they’re buying somewhere in the world since we have such good
visibility into there we can move forward on legislation that exists with
respect to Hamas Hamas and Hezbollah we can attempt to deny the funds and
weapons in ways that this administration has chosen not to do we can make that
mandatory as well and we can force this administration to acknowledge video
reporting these are the things that are happening there it was in place at one
time previously it has not gone away we can restore the order of the guns from
that but long after the agreement entered into Iran also began continued
experimentation with respect to its ballistic missile program
one can read the political commitment one way one could read another I would
argue that it was illegal if it wasn’t illegal under the jcpoa it certainly was
under the UN Security Council resolution we sent Samantha pack of powers to the
UN to say hey stop that we can put sanctions in place with respect to the
ballistic missile program I had a conversation so there’s a basilar pole I
don’t know if anybody knows him he has been deemed ambassador in charge of
implementation of the political commitments as his job he was a bastard
a polar most recently is actually a decent fella I met him not three or four
times and of course when I read through some of this listen to him his response
is well you have to be really you could just upset the deal but he’s
very honest right he acknowledges that this president has made clear he agrees
that anything that is done that doesn’t relate to the nuclear aspects of the
arena program is fair game so sanctions on human rights on terror
and all things non-nuclear are in bounds and my urging to him was that as we move
these forward in Congress over the coming weeks and months that he issued a
statement to that effect and acknowledged that these sanctions don’t
impact the new who your deal he said he’d take that under consideration was
very very open to say to the extent these don’t impact the nuclear program
there we we view this as a reasonable it is the case that this administration has
put sanctions on a handful folks post-deal but their steps forming small
the administration has taken some incremental sanctions on Iranian terror
this is good and we should we should reward the illustration we should thank
them we should issue press releases to talk about the things that they do that there’s a series of sanctions that
already exist today on the IRGC they’re about to expire we should reimpose considering it my role on the
Intelligence Committee I am about two-thirds of the way of putting in
place a review process that I hope will be sufficiently rigorous well we will
demand near real-time information from the intelligence community that tells us
what they know and what they don’t know about a random compliance with the
agreement a bunch of that ought to be able to take the tape but to be able to
be performed in an unclassified setting will be
to do that some of it well some of these will reveal particular methods or
sources and we will have to do some classified setting but make no mistake
Congress in its oversight will have a duty to continue to take the list of
political commitments that this administration claims were made and hold
the Iranian accountable to them if we can achieve that it will be a good term
it’s not the it’s not the magic elixir okay so let’s be clear no commitments
were made with respect to undeclared nuclear locations there is a process
that everyone we talked about 24 days they’ll be able to go in and actually
look at an undeclared site after three weeks and three days but the truth of
the matter is anybody who spent any time with the Intelligence Committee realizes
the quality who’s gonna turn over so you have to provide the basis for your claim
there’s an activity then that you’d like to go take a look at that I hope the
administration won’t turn over this information they won’t share it with me you know you’re doing this and here’s
how we know it and so the provisions about inspecting undeclared sites are
virtually impossible to enforce and we ought to continue as the article 1
overseer to call them out each time that happens the last amount of speak about a
lot is enforcing existing sanctions some time this is overlooked there’s a long
list of places this administration and frankly the administration purported to
has turned its head and for a series of reasons some Prudential others
philosophical chosen not to enforce existing agreements that time is over
our deal is made we have the arrangement that we that the president so
desperately wanted and we ought not now to have any reason to look the other way
with respect to a particular activity the two less places we should look for
that article one can do of course to the Iranian banks we know that our Treasury
has done important work around the world in fighting against radical Islamic
terrorism had been able to cut off money flows and identify bad guys so their
efforts to move money around the world the Iranian banks too are about to be
have sanction attitude from them we ought to reimpose those sanctions
because those banks are deeply connected to terror and we ought to make sure that
this administration reports each time one of those formerly designated banks
engages in terror activities as well these are simple tasks and if we can
continue to keep pressure on the banks we accomplished a secondary mission the
secondary mission for this work from article one over the next 13 months is
to to the extent possible keep the Europeans from investing in Iran it’s a
difficult task they are chomping at the bit good luck
go try to find a hotel room in Tehran it is very doable the turbines are there
the French are there the press happen our have been and continue to be there
but to the extent we can make their general counsel very nervous about
issuing an opinion on a long-term investment in Iran we will have achieved
an important goal we can slow the rush to make a little bit of money from a
radical clerical regime we give this next president a chance a chance to go
unwind this deal and I use that term tariff carefully we just had
presidential candidates say lots of things about what they’re going to do
day one good luck a little trickier than that but to the extent we can keep
capital from flowing to around we accomplished not only the bishop of
keeping money out of the hands of terrorists but we give this next
president increased flexibility as he or she moves forward
lastly we shouldn’t forget that this regime whether this agreement was
arranged by President Obama and someone I don’t know who the counterparty is I
don’t know who we entered into this agreement with it’s not in the document
none of you have ever done this before by the way when you sign the mortgage
you know exactly who your lender is ilegal main why you’ve never injured has
been an executed document and it’s very detailed the legal counterparty this one
I don’t know I don’t know if it’s just the I don’t know who’s Romani I don’t
know who we struck this deal with but I know it wasn’t the Iranian people I know
that there is still opportunity there opportunity that this president cast
aside in 2009 and we ought to not forget that there are group of folks inside
that country who desperately want something very different than what
ronnie has come 81 and I think by the way I don’t distinguishes between the
two of them I think they the leadership there is all together and wants the same
thing I think their fights and their disagreements of the things they don’t
hardliners I think they’re all the same I think they all want the same thing
they want more money in their pocket and more
around the world that’s that’s who the counterparty is it’s somewhere in that
mix but if we keep an eye on the Iranian people we have an opportunity somewhere
down the road to go do what we ultimately need to do which is to hold
first is to continue to keep the capacity to take out their nuclear
program at the appropriate point Congress has an enormous role in it
that’s funding our events establish them in a way that it continues to have the
technology and capability to do that and to ensure that the Israelis still have
the capacity to accomplish that mission if our president simply doesn’t have the
temerity to execute a program that is important and finally it gives us the
chance those when we get to the finish line the abolition of the current regime
the only way and I’ve seen folks talk about taking out the nuclear program
I’ve heard experts say it will only push them back two years so you know that’s
the same we’re pushing them back five years think about how long it pushes
them back it depends on how many of their nuclear engineers you can find a
lot of this isn’t hardware it’s human ingenuity by the way we should know who
those folks are too but at the end of the day they can reveal that human
ingenuity as well and it’s going to take a leadership hit regime with a different
intention than the one that currently controls Iran and we can have an
important role in making sure the opportunity
change exists and conquers can continue to push and talk about it and help us
achieve that hand at the time that is most appropriate I’ll close with this
bottle so there’s challenges I was in Ukraine not terribly long ago as you can
see we could all identify I put the near-term threat far away the greatest
boom what’s going on in her life today it tops my list I’ve heard smart people
say Mexico percents there’s better for another say the greatest threats are
from Russia I’m trying to think those all are things we’ve got work to do you
want but today the short one if you’re looking about the threat that it’s my
job my job is to keep the people of Kansas fourth congressional district
safe the best place to go push the best leverage that we can achieve in Congress
is to work towards an ultimate change in Iran I was particularly interested in your
comment this notion that states might have the power to impose sanctions at
the state level realistically how many do you think would do you have any sense
of that number today thirty states that already have some level of sanctions
some of them are pretty weak so there’s work to do even in many of those
thirties days as well I’ll bet there are two dozen where a good work at the state
level could go increase the capacity to deny or resources that as we could even
take them from nothing to something important or take them from a low level
thank you for today well we have to make sure if this administration will attempt
to say they are preempted that this grip agreement was preempted there’s that
long legal doctrine about how that works that I don’t think a press release
qualifies for that but that we legal bind that comes with it but it is also
salutary to have this debate in the States as well right to have attorneys
general and governor’s state legislators talking about Iran is the mega bug that
no one member of Congress could possibly achieve so the sanctions are important
as the primary objective the secondary objective of keeping a rod top of mind
for our citizenry I think is a close second oh I’m sorry a model to follow perhaps
was Iran’s relationship with the state of California and investments exchange
of finances between the retirement of California public officials and an
iranian-american that tortured it was the architect of that with a California
estates and details and it worked for the state this association it’s important and I’m personally gonna
go to the next Attorney General’s conference I think I’ve got a slot to go
speak to them and talk to the Attorney General’s directly about the things they
can do provide them a model to try to help them achieve I wanted to take the
opportunity to commend you insight on the attitude of the Sunni world the
history of the Sunni world I thought he was our friend we have he supposedly
engaged in Libya Egypt other places to promote the Arab Spring and all of a
sudden I drove back from Atlanta to switch from came here from so had some
time to listen to the radio and I heard some feedback from the hearings and the
announcement continues he’s spending some more sending support special forces
over Syria following that announcement the radio commentator so I’m happy to advocate for putting
more horses into we have a strategy before you can put it doesn’t do any
good to throw resources when you don’t know what the answer is that your
desires are achieving this president hasn’t other than the one that we’ve
been talking about today with the only contact I had with city leaders was in
Lebanon when this last trip I did meet with some leaders in Iraq as well what I
was there they’re not of one voice but if you ask for the predominant it is one
of this guy disappointed they were all very hopeful
that America would lead and that and when I said leave they don’t mean
putting two armored divisions and carrier group there they mean have
having be the force that we were at the end of our time in Iraq right during the
awakening where we worked closely with them to develop something that looked
like it might get to a political solution whether we would have ever
gotten to that come we can all debate we can have lots of Georgetown so long talk
about it what I would say is they’re all they are all deeply aware that they are
on their own and they there is no hope that it will be fixed under this
administration I think for a while they by maybe we’re misreading us maybe this
is just rubbish mom it means gonna treadmill no longer believe that they
would now share my view of this administration’s tilt towards Iran tells
us anywhere work the handoff of responsibilities in the Middle East you
mentioned the importance of supporting the Iranian people against the Iranian
leadership the history of sanctions has invariably worked against the people and
supported regimes and apparently is doing exactly the same
thing in Iran what would be your approach or strategy for accomplishing
that supporting so it’s difficult I completely completely agree with you the
sanctions almost always leave in a condition that is worse off having said
that I don’t see any alternative but to try and flip that country in a place
where people rise up themselves that is to the extent that the Iranian regime
gets what it thinks it’s going to get from sanctions relief people will be
more tolerant of the hardliners of the clerical regime there’s I don’t think
there’s any doubt about it I think rouhani is counting on this right
there’s a lecture don’t forget there are elections I use the word loosely
scheduled for February and they are going to talk in their campaign about
all the great stuff that is coming to the Iranian people in the direct result
of this agreement in this particular leadership team if you will
we the sanctions matter they provide the impetus for the Iranian
people to rise up I truly believe there are other tools
that we have on our kid back to help inside of Iran once they have just
and that is that they have a partner but make no mistake about it if today you
think you’ve been fifty or a hundred or two hundred thousand prepared to go
fight the Iranian regime are you going to launch that effort with Barack Obama
in the White House tell me what you tell me what he would do he would immediately
call for her calm right he would say hey but also so that wasn’t the right
response in 2009 2009 there were a number tools that they could have used
to have provided support there are no guarantees about what would have
happened but we would have greatly increase the likelihood that we would
have ended up with a difference in the nature of the regime this is maybe a
hopeless question but Boeing ge caterpillar a whole host of the chamber
are deeply committed to the deal made by various groups and these are no longer just American
corporations and should not be seen that way increasingly both their foreign
military sales and certainly their aircraft sales to overseas companies
recently really November a vote was taken an amendment have been proposed to
have the Exim Bank not fund sales to suppose in spite of the fact that in the
Iran deal there is a very specific retraction for specific executive orders
prevented the Exim Bank from funding these deals so in fact the quran dealers
specifically now enables the Exim Bank perspective across their parts yeah and
we’re talking to the estimated twenty billion billions would be in sales of
aircraft over the next decade so given that tremendous pressure of these are
this is very bipartisan in this case it’s a very powerful companies this is
sort of you know the heart the driver the engine it seems and these companies
are absolutely indifferent it would appear to the possibility of starting
World War III absolutely I think it’s tomorrow but no
one will think about towards the natural security a very few of us will think
about tomorrow so – I would love to see us look we’re gonna we’re now gonna
allow the Iranian Air Force and the Iranian commercial fleet air clean to
get healthy again after so many years of truly struggling reminds me only
marginally related I was in Amman I think I was traveling on my way back
and I’m at the games I can’t remember when they get some bull that the next
game is a commercial flight to Damascus and I said to my traveling companion I
didn’t use Queen’s English adjectives that I shall not share what the heck if
there are runway still in Damascus and it shows the play of this administration
the capacity of commercial activity to help them achieve whether folks got off
the plane – I assumed it was coming in from Damascus although I don’t know that I think we’ve all heard on various
estimates of numbers about the frozen funds Iranian frozen funds and various
banks what’s your sense of how much there is what the likelihood of it being
released to Iran is and then finally what leverage if any does the United
States have over the release of these funds given that they’re mostly in Asian
banks like China Japan India Korea so the best number or if I may be said
might put a point on it I’d say it’s a hundred and fifteen hundred twenty
billion dollars it could be five or ten billion less than that it could be fifty
or sixty billion dollars more than that but the best data I’ve seen suggests
somewhere in the range under 15 it’s going to be released almost certainly
and wetland I think the United States has some enormous leverage on whether it
be released no matter where it sits around the world
remember what lose the one country’s banking system that everyone needs
access to that will access to sweat the u.s.
Clearing House the US based a clearinghouse if we told entities that
held this money if you release that money will deny you access to Swift you
know what they would say people you hear all the time how the Europeans are gonna
let their sanctions goodness gracious one of the Americans
gonna do let me tell you there’s strolling we’re gonna provide there is
still only one big king in the economic world today with respect to sanctions
and it’s us especially with respect to international banking transactions
country jump with your Treasury folks get on a plane and show up in the
country yeah I’ll give you I’ll give you a real-time example when I when I
traveled eleven on I met with the head of their equivalent of the Federal
Reserve doing this an awfully long time and the Lebanese Parliament had many
months and months and months I was there on and the Lebanese program was gonna
meet on Thursday for one purpose for a single purpose they were gonna meet
because Treasury told them if they didn’t change some of their banking laws
they were gonna be denied access to the US banking system so from Hezbollah to
the Maronite Christians they were going to show up for one thing telling a very
small Lovely’s banking system is very small but they to know if they get shut
out of the capacity to deal in the US Swift system the global Swift system
which we control so if we wanted to the United States wanted to keep those
assets frozen it’s almost a certainty that we could achieve that thank you for your thoughtful comments
at the congressman in the long term how confident are you that the United States
can be a force for good and their lease I mean even with the right president
we’ve done so well historically one don’t you think going
forward it’s really easy for us to play with on her administration which I do I
haven’t agreed there are many qualities that predate
the current administration I would concede them and we could all list them
we probably listed if of things and have different sets of things that we could
give on one to attend I’d give one a three to it but so we go but I think
it’s hard to look at the middle east and say that it is worse off today because
of u.s. involvement in the Middle East I think I think that argument Rachel
Maddow would make it but I don’t think all I think most serious more possible
was a lot of broad spectrum which would give us some credit for it being better
than in the complete absence of the United States I am uh I am NOT an
optimist with our spectrum with respect I hope I didn’t convey this to cure all
the challenges that are the Middle East you know don’t pretend to that for a
moment the challenge we described and you asked in the context of the Middle
East I truly do believe that this is a problem my faith and that faith extends
to places outside of the Middle East as well and so a I don’t think that you can
define the challenge by geography but rather we
a military commander challenge and then faith-driven challenge to figure out how
to contain what is not a small minority inside the Islamic faith that believes
in much of what it is we are facing in the Middle East today and the threats
that we face here in America as well there are somewhere on the order of 50
there’s one with terror cases in Kansas three million people that small state
run the scheme of things 50 open cases many of which wouldn’t be directly
connected to violence that is these were bomb builders but their funders and
folks working alongside to help proselytize with respect to extremism
enormous challenge outside of the Middle East but yet inside the faith of Islam
today we have a public diplomacy challenge that we have I didn’t speak
about at all tonight because I just don’t think it’s brutal with this
administration but I think if we did it well we’d have an opportunity to begin
to make it better that’s my own thing that’s all like here’s one no absent any
intervention from leadership there is ask you was is there
really a significant segment of Congress calling my Democrat colleagues trying to
convince them that we came back I knew we were gonna have just days I do call
it my Democrat colleagues many of whom on that here two-and-a-half terms with a
lot of Democrats that could be singing the river that wouldn’t know right I
just haven’t had a chance to have an interaction with my no they would know I’m speaking to just over 80 I’m gonna
use this to get to the answer to your question I did not hear a robust defense
of this deal from a single one no none of them said here’s what I hear a little
bit about it’s gonna delay their nuclear program for a little bit because of
certain elements right for concrete in Iraq and they’re gonna
go do something at Fort up and disconnected and pulse energy I would
acknowledge that you just hit the peak and then we can see the remainder and it
was bad then we can see the terrorism risks and they would concede all that
and then they would club and then I’d say it sounds like here with me through
the matter is the political pressure that was put upon them was like nothing
they had ever seen before forget me on the vineyard but here’s many of these
folks who’ve been in Congress 12 14 16 years they’ve never seen anything like
that I had a more junior member it was actually a very liberal temper company
pretty good on natural security issues and things these things go and I’ve
traveled in one so I know hit something so you agree with me he said yeah but
I’ve got to talk to Brock Obama more last week but these were expressed rates
but I say that our president was quit I think many of the Democrats who oppose
this deal knew in their heart of hearts that the best thing they could say was
and this president’s going to do it anyway let’s go ahead and not do some
crazy boat on corporate pardon that upset our political future I’m not
trying to be cynical in any material respect they would they would they would
also make the case that this was the best deal that could be achieved and
they would make various rationalizations but to your point as the president
declared that he wanted to walk away from the table
get to a deal and we were going to redouble our support for Israel and
prepare for conflict with Iran they would have been equally happy so I
suspect that if that happens a year from now you won’t hear a great deal of
squawking too many bucks with a rational approach to point out
I’m afraid to talk about the data the data is very clear every time there has
been a conflict between the Christian West and the Islamic East the data
points all point in a singular direction you asked me why and that that gets
trickier it is very clear the this administration and when I say that I
have very narrow slice inside the leadership regime here in Washington has
concluded that America is better off with greater Iranian influence certainly
the Middle East but I think around the will to tolerate it around the world but
if you ask why they think that I’ve listened
and I cannot but then you certainly provide you an answer to that from
intelligence and a counterintelligence perspective how effective do you see the
Iranian regime at infiltrating the US government and how and influencing our
decisions and how effective is our counterintelligence effort I can’t
difficult to characterize how good it is we’ve had successes there is also an
enormous effort and legitimate effort inside the intelligence of professions
broadly speaking to not just the safe but broader set up to help America
understand Iranian behavior they’re gonna do their level best to figure out
what Iran is doing the challenge is a political one which is when we come back
and say little turns out they did ask people in consistently the commitments I
think this administration will find a way to marginalize that or rationalize
away any response I mean the idea that we’re going to snap back sanctions is
ludicrous on its face simply happened this administration so tell us as folks
are a bit dejected because if that you there were perfectly discover something
that would require snapback I think they all know too there will be an answer to
that which would preclude any of these sanctions being imposed an executive
agreement does the next president that the president’s gonna use his authority
to waive the sanction so there are set of sanctions the president didn’t even a
group of the rod to wake them right you just needed to write a note wave these
things so he didn’t need any agreement to do it he’s going to go do it the next
president can equally but your question is a very good one with respect to Iran
I will say this the Iranian ‘s have a robust effort to target our intelligence
folks it is real and it is around us you need to look no further the fact they
tried to knock off the sunny ambassador at a nice restaurant on Georgetown not
too terribly long ago I’m gonna send them straight to forget those 2011 it’s
four years ago same cast of characters I worked Soviet issues before I was sent
to learn Farsi and became here on desk Wednesday reading so I’ll use the term
that you will know cover agent of influence and when czarina of was
ambassador Iranian ambassador United Nations on three occasions I was invited
to meet him my name was given my name was given to him by Americans maybe not
had time regime it was a very rich Democratic know the name I can’t
remember he’s the most he’s the richest democratic contributed in the country he
arranged the meeting between the present Secretary of State you

1 thought on “Mike Pompeo: Dealing with Iran in a Post-Deal World

  1. What do you think? How should we deal with Iran in a Post-Deal World?

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