Iran is an active threat to American interests as it sows chaos in the Middle East, but the White House would “of course” welcome the opportunity to negotiate with Tehran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday.
Speaking with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, America’s top diplomat said he’s seeing increased threats from Iran, and that President Donald Trump’s administration is reinforcing its capacity to respond to any offensive action from Iran. That’s why, according to Pompeo, the U.S. deployed a carrier strike group and other weaponry to the region.
“We’ve done all the right things to increase our security posture to the best of our ability,” Pompeo said, “but we also want to make sure that we had deterrent forces in place, so in the event that Iran decided to come after an American interest — whether that be in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Yemen, or any place in the Middle East — we were prepared to respond to them in an appropriate way. ”
We’re not going to miscalculate: Our aim is not war, our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership.
Despite the greater military presence in the region, the secretary of state stressed that the U.S. isn’t looking for a fight — and it wouldn’t stumble into one either.
“We’re not going to miscalculate: Our aim is not war, our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership. We hope the Iranian people will get what they finally want, and what they so richly deserve,” he said. “The forces that we’re putting in place, the forces that we’ve had in the region before — you know, we often have carriers in the Persian Gulf — but the president wanted to make sure that, in the event something took place, we were prepared to respond to it in an appropriate way.
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Pompeo added that he has prepared diplomatic options so that Trump has choices “in the event that the Iranians make a bad decision.”