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Secretary Pompeo Speaks On Iran's Threat Against Europe, NATO

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference during the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting at the State Department in Washington, April 4, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking to the press on April 4, following meetings with NATO counterparts in Washington, D.C., accused the Islamic Republic of organizing terror acts in Europe.

Asked what challenges NATO and the U.S. are facing with the regime in Tehran, Pompeo said: "The list is long. I believe the threats the Islamic Republic of Iran presented to our country are many. We have asked the Islamic Republic of Iran simply to behave like a normal nation."

Giving "concrete examples" of Iran's threat, Pompeo said: "Today there continues to be a concerted assassination campaign inside of Europe. Have you seen the European countries responses to this threat? This is real. This is not something that was made up."

Blaming Iranian leaders for the threats, he said: "This is an effort by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran which President Rouhani is permitting to take place. They are going to Europe and Killing people on European soil."

Mr. Pompeo stressed: "This is unacceptable to allow something like that to happen in Western Europe. We are working with our partners all over Europe to make sure we all have the right information at the right time and the right place to reduce this risk and reduce this threat."

He added: "But a second component of this is the deterrence effort which is an undertaking the United States is engaged in to reduce the capacity of the Islamic Republic of Iran to undertake precisely this kind of activity by sanctioning them in a way that forces them to have fewer resources so that they can create these risks around the world."

Pompeo said U.S. and Europe will make sure that Iran's regional ambitions do not make NATO countries less secure. "There are European foreign terrorist fighters sitting today in Iraq and Syria. We now have to figure out a way to make sure that they do not return to the Jihadi battlefield."

Speaking about Iran's role, he stressed: "The effort that Iran is engaged in in Syria make that problem fundamentally more difficult as do the Iranian Shiite militias that are not under the control of the Iraqi security forces. That malign activity by Iran makes Europe and NATO countries less secure," adding "We would collectively approach this problem in order to reduce the risks to NATO members," He said.