Pompeo Speech At Reagan Library: Freedom For Iran [VIDEO]

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Pompeo Speech At Reagan Library: Freedom For Iran [VIDEO]

Pompeo Speech At Reagan Library: Freedom For Iran [VIDEO]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Sunday evening at the Reagan Library, which was titled “Supporting Iranian Voices.” The preview was given a few days ago to the press, but now the full speech has been delivered.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) was also in attendance with Secretary Pompeo.


The speech ran a little under a half hour, and covered several points.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday called the religious leaders of Iran “hypocritical holy men” who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer, part of a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the U.S. prepared to reimpose economic sanctions.

“Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitized to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Pompeo said in prepared remarks for a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

“And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you,” he said.

Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, too, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

Pompeo also pointed out how the ayatollahs have enriched themselves.

America’s top diplomat was particularly barbed in his remarks about “the Ayatollahs,” saying they “are in on the act, too.” He said Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has generated more than $100 million for himself in the illicit trade of sugar; that Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani is worth millions after the government transferred several lucrative mines to his foundation; and that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has an off-the-books hedge fund, Setad, worth $95 billion.

“The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” he said.

Pompeo’s remarks were aimed in part at Iranian-Americans and Iranians living in the U.S. He assured them that the Trump administration shared their dreams for the people of Iran. He also expressed support for those Iranians who have protested their government’s actions and called its response “brutal.”

“The specific grievances differ. But all those voicing dissatisfaction share one thing: they have been ill-treated by a Revolutionary regime. Iranians want to be governed with dignity, accountability and respect,” he said.

One only has to look at pictures of Iran pre-revolution to realize just how much the Iranian people have lost in nearly 40 years. But what happens now? Pompeo’s speech is all too true, and clearly a focal point of his tenure as Secretary of State, but the people of Iran have been rioting over the lack of drinking water. The Obama administration squandered a once-in-a-generation opportunity in 2009 to support a real revolution for democracy in Iran. Are Pompeo’s words now, coupled with incoming sanctions, too little, too late?

The Trump administration’s strategy appears simple: to exploit the already growing tensions within Iranian society that are being exacerbated by renewed U.S. sanctions that have forced some foreign firms to leave.

There have been a series of anti-government protests in Iran in recent months, prompted by an array of different issues and concerns.

The State Department briefer said Pompeo plans to support “the legitimate demands of the Iranian people, especially their economic demands for a better life.”

But how far will he and the administration go?

“That’s the key question,” Behnam Ben Taleblu of the conservative pressure group Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told the French news agency AFP. “Pompeo and the administration can do more than just rhetorical support to the Iranian protester.”

Several Iranian dissidents have written to Pompeo to urge him to re-establish punitive measures against the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting network, which they accuse of abetting human rights violations.

Word of Pompeo’s planned speech has fanned speculation on Washington’s precise intentions.

The State Department insists that the U.S. seeks merely a “change in behavior” by the regime.

But some senior members of the Trump administration – notably national security advisor John Bolton – have made it clear in the past that they would like to see the Tehran regime topple, and Pompeo himself said in May that “the Iranian people get to choose for themselves the kind of leadership they want.”

To Behnam Ben Taleblu, “genuine regime change can only come from inside.”

With an upsurge of “Iranians of all different social classes protesting,” he said, the Trump administration will have to decide whether it wants to “support elements that actually want to change the regime.”

Could lightning strike twice and Iran actually get a real chance at an internal regime change within ten years of the last attempt? We already know, given Pompeo’s focus and the Trump administration’s markedly different stance, that a naturally occuring revolution in Iran would be met with the support that was shockingly absent in 2009. Whether it happens now, is completely up to the Iranian people, who have so much to lose and the bitterness of the recent past hanging over their heads. Pompeo’s words offer support, but words alone, spoken from the safety of a speech given in California, mean little to those under the thumb of the Iranian leaders.

And the Iranian leaders may have been paying attention.

Addressing a gathering of Iranian diplomats, Rouhani said: “Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” the state new agency IRNA reported.

“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said, leaving open the possibility of peace between the two countries, at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to reported efforts by Washington to destabilize Iran’s Islamic government.

You know who else was paying attention to them paying attention?


You may disagree with Trump’s use of Twitter, and his use of all caps here, but if nothing else, it’s a clear signal to the people of Iran that the era of Obama appeasement is dead and buried with a stake through its heart. Whether or not it’s the right signal to send at this moment… only the Iranian people can answer that.

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3 Comments
  • bob sykes says:

    Are we about to get another Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen…? The crowning achievements of Clinton, Bush and Obama. Or, this time a real war, not a patty-cakes war like ‘Nam. One where we get hurt.

    Or is Trump promising a war of pure genocide, nuclear hell-fire from above, 70 million dead Iranians, one to make Hitler proud?

    Shutting down the Persian and Oman Gulfs is easy. Just put one RPG into one freighter. You don’t need a navy or air force. The insurance companies cancel insurance for all ships in the region; the ship owners take their vessels home; no imports to the Persian Gulf or exports from it. The loss of 20% of the world’s oil supply collapses markets and economies.

    And to get open the Gulf and Hormuz, the US has to seize and control 1,000 miles of Iranian coast line all the way inland to the Zagros Mountains.

    • GWB says:

      No way will Iran be “another Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, … Libya, Yemen”. The country is too coherent as a culture and a nation for that to happen. Syria? Iraq? Maybe. That depends on whether we go the “democracy solves all problems” wishful thinking, or if we just dip our toes in to meddle.

      As to the ease of stoppering the Hormuz, yes, that’s easy. Until a US Carrier Strike Group arrives. And no, we don’t have to seize control 1,000 miles inland and all along the coast – just control the waterways. And that’s easily done with a strike group.
      Yes, it would need to be a constant presence, but we’ve done that before.
      (BTW, with a US aircraft carrier in the region, we – by definition – control about 500 miles in every direction from that carrier. The question isn’t capability, but will. And the American people have always had more will than US presidents about retaliatory strikes. Trump might be the exception.)

      (Let’s just make sure that all the people we have in charge of the ships in that strike group can actually drive them, and the crews are sufficiently alert and battle-ready.)

  • GWB says:

    “the Iranian people get to choose for themselves the kind of leadership they want.”
    Caution: This is exactly what they did in 1979.
    Believers in “democracy” seem to think it instantly overcomes autocracy, theocracy, and communism. It does NOT. You have to kindle the flame of liberty in people’s hearts, then stoke it regularly. Humans do NOT crave freedom as a rule. They want stability, security, and their tribe to win. Freedom is something you have to educate into a person.
    Often what people want is not an open, liberal republic like we have. They end up asking for a strong central gov’t, which doles out the necessities. (E.g., Democrat voters.)

    “genuine regime change can only come from inside.”
    Again, unless the current regime is externally imposed, this is fallacious. Genuine regime change can only come from those who want something different – and that’s very, very often a lot less than a majority. (E.g., American Revolution maxed out at 30% support.)

    met with the support that was shockingly absent in 2009
    But what sort of support? Do we provide weapons to an insurgent group? Do we just talk a lot about how righteous the cause is? Do we offer direct military support once the revolution begins? Any of those things can backfire on us and need to be carefully considered.

    Really, though, we need to re-think our entire foreign policy: Should we even be engaged in other people’s affairs? Or should we leave them to their own countries and simply worry about what will impact our security? Serious questions that we need to ask – and NOT to answer on the basis of progressives wanting to bring heaven on earth. There’s an awful lot of blood spilled for that cause.

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