This Week in Iran Policy (February 29)

This Week in Iran Policy

 

“The United [States] stands with the Iranian people.  We will continue to their support their voices.  These are people who are desperately eager to be heard in a free and fair election.”

– Secretary Pompeo, Remarks, February 25, 2020

OPENING REMARKS BY SECRETARY POMPEO BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, FEBRUARY 28, 2020:

  • Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror – and the world’s largest state sponsor of anti-Semitism, wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.  You just have to listen to them. Iran and its proxies are responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans in Iraq, including an American contractor who was killed on December 27th of 2019. Its forces, Iran’s forces, and the militias it supports, prop up Bashar Assad, undermine democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, and steal humanitarian aid in Yemen.”
  • “The Iranian regime slaughtered at least several hundred of its own people, with reports of as many as 1,500, during the protests last November.  Many millions more have suffered since the Revolution began more than 40 years ago. Iranians, and those impacted by the regime, are thankful that the United States is finally holding their oppressors accountable. The Trump administration will neither appease nor tolerate the enormous national security threat that Iran poses to the United States, our friends, and our allies.”
  • “I know that, sadly, some American troops were injured during Iran’s retaliatory ballistic missile attack on al-Asad air force base.  The limited nature of Iran’s counterattack, however, indicates that Iran’s leadership is not eager to escalate a military confrontation. They know if we fight, they’ll lose.  That’s deterrence.  It’s our policy.”
  • “We will continue to protect the American people and American interests by any means necessary…. And we will work with our allies and partners for a more stable and secure Middle East.”
  • Follow the link to read the full remarks.

 STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ON CORONAVIRUS ASSISTANCE FOR THE IRANIAN PEOPLE, FEBRUARY 27, 2020:

  • “The United States stands with the people of Iran during the public health crisis caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The U.S. Government is prepared to assist the Iranian people in their response efforts. This offer of support to the Iranian people, which has been formally conveyed to Iran through the Government of Switzerland, underscores our ongoing commitment to address health crises and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.”
  • “The United States calls on Iran to cooperate fully and transparently with international aid and health organizations. We will continue to work closely with countries in the region to help address unmet needs in response to the virus.”
  • “Persons interested in providing support to the Iranian people should note that certain donations to Iran that are intended to relieve human suffering, including the donation of medicine, are exempt from U.S. sanctions. In addition, the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations to its sanctions for the commercial export of food, medicine, medical devices, and agricultural products to Iran. In support of those exceptions and authorizations, the S. Department of the Treasury and the Government of Switzerland recently announced the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA).  For more information about the SHTA, see https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm919.
  • Supporting the Iranian people is and will remain among our top priorities.”

HIGHLIGHTS ON IRAN FROM SPECIAL BRIEFING BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS DAVID SCHENKER AND COUNTERTERRORISM COORDINATOR AMBASSADOR NATHAN A. SALES ON FEBRUARY 26, 2020:

  • Ambassador Sales: “Today, Secretary Pompeo has taken decisive action against Iran-backed militias in Iraq by designating Ahmad al-Hamidawi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist or SDGT.”
  • “Hamidawi is the secretary-general of Kata’ib Hizballah, or KH, a group that is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.  That includes the December 2019 attack by rockets on an airbase near Kirkuk that killed American Nawres Hamid.”
  • “The State Department designated KH as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and as an SDGT in 2009 for attacking American troops and our allies.  …  By committing violence at the behest of its patrons in Tehran, KH has revealed its true agenda: undermining Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.”
  • Assistant Secretary Schenker: “…today the Secretary of State is designating Ahmad al-Hamidawi, the secretary-general of Kata’ib Hizballah.  His organization also shares in the responsibility for the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Iraq.  They are foot soldiers in the Iranian regime’s export of terrorism, corruption, and bribery to Iraq.”
  • Follow the link to watch the full briefing.

 HIGHLIGHTS ON IRAN FROM SECRETARY POMPEO’S REMARKS TO THE PRESS ON FEBRUARY 25, 2020:

  • “…the United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country.  As of yesterday afternoon, Iran was second only to China in coronavirus deaths.”
  • “All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations.”
  • “Staying on Iran: This weekend, the Islamic Republic held another rigged parliamentary election.  The United States heard the Iranian people’s disgust at their government’s repression.  We’ve had people send in messages from all across the country.  One Iranian said, quote: “I will not vote.  Voting means that we give legitimacy to this corrupt regime.  We won’t cooperate with them in its crimes.” Another said, quote: “I have not voted in my life and I will not vote for this corrupt mafia system at all,” end of quote.
  • Follow the link to watch the full briefing.

PRESS STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ANNOUNCING NEW SANCTIONS ON FEBRUARY 25, 2020:

  • “The United States is sanctioning 13 foreign entities and individuals in China, Iraq, Russia, and Turkey pursuant to Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).  This action includes new sanctions against five entities/individuals in China (Luo Dingwen, Baoding Shimaotong Enterprises Services Company Limited, Gaobeidian Kaituo Precise Instrument Co. Ltd, and Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co., Ltd) and Turkey (Eren Carbon Graphite Industrial Trading Company, Ltd) for supporting Iran’s missile program.  The Chinese individual Luo Dingwen has also been involved in supplying sensitive items to Pakistan’s weapons program.”
  • “The recent determinations were the result of a periodic review of sanctionable activity as required by INKSNA.  We have imposed two-year discretionary sanctions on the 13 individuals/entities identified in this report.  The sanctions include restrictions on U.S. government procurement, U.S. government assistance, and exports.”
  • “The imposition of these measures underscores that Iran’s missile program remains a significant proliferation concern.  The imposition of sanctions against these foreign entities is consistent with our efforts to use all available measures to prevent Iran from advancing its missile capabilities.”
  • Follow the link to watch the full briefing.

NOTABLE TWEETS THIS WEEK:

.@SecPompeo February 28

I’m deeply concerned by the spread of #coronavirus in #Iran and the public health risk to the Iranian people and their neighbors. The U.S. offers our humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran to help unmet needs in their response efforts.

.@SecPompeo February 26

Today’s designation of 15 Lebanon-based individuals and entities linked to the #Hizballah-affiliated Martyrs Foundation highlights how the terrorist group continues to pursue its own interests and the interests of its sponsor, #Iran, at the expense of the #Lebanese people.

.@SecPompeo February 26

#Iran’s regime is facing a crisis of legitimacy with parliamentary elections at their lowest turnout since 1979.

.@SecPompeo February 26

Rather than take responsibility, @khamenei_ir is lying about his killing of civilians on a commercial plane and on internal health risks in Iran. He is wasting the children of Iran by killing them in foolish revolutionary expeditions in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

@StateDept February 26

.@SecPompeo on the #IranElections: This weekend, the Islamic Republic held another rigged parliamentary election. The United States stands with the Iranian people, who are desperately eager to be heard in a free and fair election.

@statedeptspox February 26

The U.S. salutes and stands with the brave women in #Iran in their struggle for rights and empowerment. Your fight against the mandatory hijab reminds the world that women want the right to self-determination. We hear you, we see you, and we are with you.

.@SecPompeo February 25

The U.S. is imposing sanctions on 13 foreign entities and individuals in China, Iraq, Russia, and Turkey for supporting proliferation programs in Iran, North Korea, and Syria. We will continue to use all available measures to prevent #Iran from advancing its missile capabilities.

.@SecPompeo February 21

I commend the Financial Action Task Force for calling on members to re-impose countermeasures needed to protect the world from terrorist financing threats emanating from #Iran. Iran must behave like a normal nation or it will continue to pay for its funding of terrorism.

.@SecPompeo February 21

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and I discussed the ongoing threat posed by the Iranian regime. We also discussed the situations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the need for a united GCC. We stand together with Saudi Arabia in addressing these regional security challenges.

.@SecPompeo February 21

Met with @kbsalsaud to reaffirm the importance of the U.S.-Saudi partnership, a critical bulwark for peace and stability in the region. We discussed ways we can counter the ongoing threat posed by the Iranian regime and its destabilizing behavior in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, & Syria.

.@SecPompeo February 21

I visited #PrinceSultanAirBase to highlight the long-standing USA-KSA security partnership & to reaffirm America’s determination to stand with #SaudiArabia in the face of Iranian aggression. #2020Together @378AEW

@statedeptspox February 21

The Financial Action Task Force made the right call to protect the international financial system from #Iran’s lax financial controls by calling on members to re-impose countermeasures. We applaud the #FATF’s decision to take firm action.

@statedeptspox February 21

.@SecPompeo met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud yesterday. They discussed #Iran’s continued destabilizing behavior in the region and agreed to support a @UN-led solution to the conflict in #Yemen. They also discussed consular and human rights issues.

@statedeptspox February 21

.@SecPompeo met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and discussed many bilateral and regional issues, including consular and human rights concerns. We stand with #SaudiArabia as they confront the malign influence of #Iran in the region and the world.