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Pompeo says ‘no one’s going to argue’ he and Trump aren’t tough on Iran amid new sanctions

Anna Moneymaker

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday pushed back against criticism that the Trump administration’s latest sanctions on Iran don’t go far enough.

“I’ve been at this a long time. No one’s going to argue that Secretary Pompeo isn’t tough on Iran, and no one’s going to argue that President Trump isn’t doing the same,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The secretary of State downplayed calls from GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) that the Trump administration should take a harder line against Iran, even as the U.S. is set to impose sanctions on the country’s oil sector.

{mosads}The senators plan to push legislation that would cut off Iranian banks from a global banking organization known as SWIFT, according to Politico.

Pompeo pledged Sunday that Iranian banks that engage in malign behavior will be sanctioned by the Department of Treasury.

He added that he’s “very confident” the latest round of sanctions will have the intended effect in changing the behavior of Iranian leadership, and noted that domestic and international lawmakers have expressed skepticism about the administration’s approach in the past.

“There were a lot of experts that said President Trump’s policy wouldn’t have any impact because it was just the U.S., and other countries weren’t participating,” Pompeo said. “And in fact, we have built an enormous coalition to keep this world safe.”

Trump raised eyebrows late last week when he shared news of the forthcoming sanctions by appropriating a slogan from the HBO hit series “Game of Thrones,” tweeting an image that read “Sanctions Are Coming.”

Asked what the tweet was about, Pompeo said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump “was putting the world on notice” that Iran’s malign behavior in the Middle East “is going to stop.” He cited Iran’s threats toward Israel and the country’s funding for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“That behavior must change,” Pompeo said.

The Trump administration announced that it plans to reimpose the last set of oil and gas sanctions on Monday that had been lifted under the Iran nuclear deal.

Pompeo said on Friday that eight “jurisdictions” would be granted waivers from the sanctions that would allow them to import Iranian oil. He did not specify who or what groups will receive waivers, but said the European Union would not be granted one.

Trump earlier this year announced plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear pact, an Obama-era agreement that offered sanctions relief to Tehran if it stopped developing its nuclear program.

The president’s decision to pull out of the deal, despite international allies urging him not to, has reignited long-simmering tensions between Washington and Tehran.

— This report was updated at 11:49 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Marco Rubio Mike Pompeo Ted Cruz Tom Cotton
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