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Pompeo Says Iranians Know Their Government Is Leading Them 'Astray'

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L), Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (C) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R) speak during a briefing on the past 72 hours events in Mar a Lago, Palm Beach, Florida on December 29, 2019

Referring to mid-November anti-Islamic Republic protests in Iran, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Iranians know that their regime is “leading them astray.”

"I think the Iranian people understand that their leadership's activities need to change, and we have been incredibly supportive of this effort for the Iranian people to get what they so richly deserve, and we will continue to support the Iranian people," Secretary Pompeo told Fox News on December 30.

Defending the U.S. attack Sunday on the Islamic Republic-backed Shi'ite militia in Iraq, Pompeo insisted that the assault was also aimed at "deterring" Tehran from supporting "terrorist activities." Pompeo added that the Iranian people would understand launching an attack on an American facility is not the best use of their money either.

"Qassem Soleimani and the Ayatollah are working on expanding their terror campaign all around the world. They (Iranian-backed militia) took a strike on an American facility. President Trump has been pretty darned patient, and he made clear at the same time that when Americans' lives were at risk, we would respond, and that's what Department of Defense did yesterday," Pompeo noted.

People of Iran, Pompeo stressed, understand that their leaders' behavior should change.

"What Iranian people are telling their leaders today when they march in the streets, they recognize that it's their leadership that has led them astray. It's their leadership that has denied them the ability to feed their families and to have prosperity and security," Secretary Pompeo told Fox News.

While insisting Washington has changed its approach toward Tehran, Pompeo asserted, "This Administration made a fundamental shift from where President Obama and his team were. They had green-lighted Iran nuclear program to go forward. They allowed this terror campaign to continue. Indeed, they permitted funds to flow into Iran to support and underwrite these terror acts carried out. We took a different direction. We've put enormous pressure to deny resources to Hezbollah, to deny resources to the Shi'ite militias, like the ones that came after an American-Iraqi facility in Iraq yesterday."

During anti-regime protests in Iran, people chanted, "Our enemy is right here, they lie the America is the enemy!"

Furthermore, protesters also chanted slogans against Iran’s support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Palestinians in Gaza, "We have no money, no gas, the hell with Palestine!"

The U.S. mission to convince Iran to behave like a "normal government" will continue, Pompeo concluded.