ORLANDO, Fla. – Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that the Biden administration’s moves to drop a sanctions push on Iran and revoke a terrorist declaration on Iran-backed Houthis were precursors to re-entering what he described as the “crazy, crappy” 2015 nuclear deal.
Pompeo spoke to Fox News on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and was asked about the recent announcement by the Biden administration that it will drop a Trump-era push to “snapback” U.N. sanctions — including an expiring arms embargo — on the regime in Tehran.
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The Trump administration had sought to snapback the sanctions, but had seen opposition from the U.N. Security Council, which argued that since the U.S. had left the 2015 Iran deal, it could not use the mechanism. The Biden administration recently said it was abandoning that push.
“Our idea there was we shouldn’t allow Iran to buy and sell weapons in the open market, purchase Russian and Chinese technology and high end military equipment,” Pompeo told Fox. “I can’t understand why for the life of me any administration would think that was a good idea.”
He then referenced the decision by the administration to revoke the terrorist designation placed by the Trump administration on the Iran-backed Houthis, who are fighting Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.
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A recent U.N. report said there was a “growing body” of evidence showing that the Iranian regime is sending weapons and weapons components to the Houthis — including anti-tank guided missiles, sniper rifles and RPB launchers all with markings consistent with those made in Iran.
Pompeo doubled down on the prior administration’s assessment of the Houthis as terrorists: “I haven’t seen any rational being stare at the Houthis and say these aren’t terrorists.”
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The Biden administration has made a number of moves in stark contrast to the Trump administration — which left the 2015 accord and exerted a “maximum pressure” policy on Tehran. Biden has indicated his administration will seek to rejoin the deal, and believes the prior moves fit into that plan.
“I think these are all precursors to them going back to this crazy, crappy nuclear deal that they engaged in that presented Iran with a very clear pathway to a nuclear program,” he said. “Our administration said we’re not going to do it, we said ‘no way’ we ripped up the JCPOA, put enormous pressure on the Iranian regime — I hope the American people will demand that this administration do the same.”
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Iranian dissidents recently described the regime as at its “weakest point” in its history. Pompeo agreed with that assessment because of the “enormous pressure” placed on Iran by the Trump administration, but warned that the regime would not remain that way if the maximum pressure policy was ended.
“Not if you hand them pallets of cash, not if you allow commerce to be re-engaged, not if you allow them to buy and sell weapons with the Chinese and the Russians,” he said. “No you’ll take the pressure off these kleptocrats and theocratic leaders of Iran who aim not only to destroy the ‘little Satan’ in Israel and the ‘great Satan’ of America, but to do enormous harm to their own people.”
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News. He can be reached at email@example.com.