Pompeo told reporters at the United Nations it would be an "enormous mistake" not to extend the arms embargo on Iran, adding the U.S. will never allow Iran to freely buy and sell conventional weapons such as tanks.
His remarks came after the United States moved to restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran on Thursday, arguing Tehran was in violation of a nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015 even though Washington itself abandoned that agreement two years ago.
MIKE POMPEO: Just a few minutes ago, I delivered letters to both the UN Secretary General Guterres and to the president of the Security Council. I notified them that the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council resolution 2231. This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today.
Our message is very, very simple-- the United States will never allow the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.
I'm pleased to say, too, that these restored sanctions will also reimpose accountability for other forms of Iranian malign activity that the authors of the nuclear deal foolishly downplayed. Iran will again be prohibited from ballistic missile testing. Iran will be back under sanctions for ongoing nuclear activities, such as the enrichment of nuclear material, that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.
I want to thank the Dominican Republic for standing with us in this effort. Our friends in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom-- the E3-- all told me privately that they don't want the arms embargo lifted either. And yet today, in the end, they provided no alternatives, no Options no country but the United States has had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with the Ayatollahs. Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, of Lebanon, of Syria, and indeed, their own citizens as well.
As for decisions that other nations make, they're sovereign countries. They get to make their own choices. But make no mistake about it-- it is an enormous mistake not to extend this arms embargo. It's nuts, right? And I haven't heard privately from any country that thinks it's wise except for perhaps from Iran.
Everyone understands that this country-- since 1985 alone, the Iranian regime has conducted terrorist operations across Europe. It's hijacked commercial jets, bombings, murdered innocent Europeans. It's conducted assassinations of dissidents in Europe, plots to blow up Jewish synagogues.
This is all in Europe by the Iranians. Does it make any sense for them to have more weapons? We should not forget that just this year, they took down a commercial airliner. This is a nation that is capable of or trustworthy to be able to buy and sell weapons systems.
And so I just urge the whole world to unite. We have every capacity under 2231 to do this, and we'll continue this effort. We're to make sure that this arms embargo doesn't come back in place.