US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet a large group of Iranian-Americans on July 22 in California and will address the gathering on U.S. policy toward Iran and its future.
“We support the proud people of Iran in their struggle for freedom, justice and respect for their human rights,” Pompeo tweeted.
The meeting with Iranian-Americans will take place at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Apparently, hundreds have been invited to attend from across the United States.
Meanwhile, a senior State Department official told journalists, including Radio Farda, on Thursday that Pompeo will be joined at the event by some members of Congress, including the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Senator Tom Cotton.
The official revealed that the title of the address would be “Supporting Iranian Voices,” adding that “the Secretary in his May 22 speech, where he unveiled the administration’s new Iran strategy, made a number of remarks addressed to the Iranian people. And he is now continuing that conversation by addressing the Iranian diaspora in the United States.”
Southern California, where the meeting is going to take place is home to around 250,000 Iranian Americans.
The State Department official said that in his remarks at the Ronald Reagan Library, Pompeo will cover issues such as the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution as well as corruption and religious persecution in Iran.
The official said, “The Iranian regime is the last revolutionary regime on Earth, and it exports its revolution around the Middle East,” adding that during the speech Pompeo would survey the last 40 years of “stealing from the Iranian people, the terrorism Tehran has committed around the region, and the brutal repression at home.”
Pompeo “will be talking about the persecution of religious groups in Iran. He’ll be supporting the legitimate demands of the Iranian people, especially their economic demands for a better life,” the official added.
Asked if the United States is supporting regime change in Iran, the State Department official said, “demanding that Iran behave like a normal regime is not a proxy for regime change.” Elsewhere, he reiterated, “we are seeking a change in the regime’s behavior."
In response to a question about Washington’s take on Iran’s role in Syria, the official said, “the United States is committed to denying Iran influence in Syria, to deepening its penetration in Syria. We cannot see – we cannot allow the Lebanonization of Syria to take place. And so, our policy is to push back on Iran and to deny them that kind of influence.”
Asked whether there’s any indication that the administration would consider lifting the travel ban on Iran, an issue that has been protested quite vehemently by many Iranian Americans, the official said “the visa restrictions that we put in place were a result of the Iranian Government’s failure to comply with the kind of information-sharing criteria that we look for and also the national security and the public safety risk factors. I will point out that the travel restrictions don’t apply to student visas.”
The official added, “We very much look forward to the day when the Iranian regime can comply with national security and public safety criteria. And at that time, we’ll be able to reassess this restriction and look for ways to support legitimate travel to the United States.”
On the widespread protests and the situation of Iran’s economy, the official said, “the regime has prioritized its ideological agenda over the welfare of the Iranian people. That has put Iran into an economic tailspin. You look at how during the time of the JCPOA their increased oil revenues could have gone to improving the lives of the Iranian people, and instead they went to terrorists and dictators and proxy militias around the Middle East.”
The official added, “this is a country that has enormous wealth and the Iranian regime lines its own pockets while its citizens are demanding better jobs and economic reforms and more opportunity. And so, the Secretary will be highlighting specific examples of regime elites’ corruption.”