Pompeo says administration's 'maximum pressure' strategy on Iran is 'absolutely' working

Pompeo says administration's 'maximum pressure' strategy on Iran is 'absolutely' working

Secretary of State Pompeo says President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE’s “maximum pressure” strategy on Iran is “absolutely” working in the wake of a number of attacks culminating in the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike.

ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosPelosi: Presidents should not 'fuel the flame' National security adviser defends Trump tweets: The president 'wants to de-escalate violence' Sanders pushes back on doubts supporters will back Biden MORE asked Pompeo if the strategy was working, citing a “spate of attacks” in response to the pressure campaign. Stephanopoulos added Iran had been following the 2015 nuclear deal before the U.S. withdrew from the agreement and shifted to the current strategy. 

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"Absolutely," the secretary of state responded, adding that the "terrible nuclear deal" led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria, Shia militia gaining more power and missiles firing from Yemen.

“All of these things, these are things that were ongoing activities, resourced and funded by the trade and the money that was provided under the JCPOA,” Pompeo said, referencing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal.

He called it “crazy” that under the deal, Iran would have been permitted to engage in the arms trade in October of this year.

“That was the deal we inherited,” he said. “It’s a place we found ourselves, and we’re working diligently to execute our strategy to convince the Iranian regime to act like a normal nation.”

Tensions with Iran were further strained after an Iranian-backed militia allegedly killed an American citizen, prompting retaliation from the U.S. against militia members, which in turn led to supporters of the militia in Iraq to protest the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. 

President Trump also approved the killing of Soleimani last week and Iran has threatened retaliation.

The Trump administration removed the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed sanctions on the country.