U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2019
SECRETARY POMPEO: Hi. Well, good afternoon, everyone. I wanted to say a couple things as we head off on this extended trip. First, I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that the Iranians are out sowing disinformation in lots of places. First of all, you’ve seen the childlike map that Foreign Minister Zarif put out. The contracted* excellence and professionalism of America’s military and our intelligence services should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about where that unarmed vehicle was. It was flying in international airspace, and we shouldn’t let the Iranians have one moment where any reporter would write that there was even a credible response to the data set that the Americans have put forward.
Second, the Iranians are out telling a story about a message that traveled through Omani channels. That’s just false. It’s pure and blatant disinformation. They passed another message that said that the United States was removing forces from Balad Air Force Base. You can go see them. They’re there.
I mention all of these things because it’s very important as the days proceed and as our efforts, our diplomatic efforts to change the nature of what the Iranian regime is doing go on, it is very likely that Iran will continue to present things that are fanciful, that are fraudulent, that are false. And we need to make sure that every news outlet, everyone who is observing this, understands what’s true and what the Iranian regime wants you to believe. That’s truly important.
I’m heading out today. Our first stops will be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two great allies in the challenge that Iran presents, and we’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned on how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states but in Asia and in Europe that understands this challenge and that is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.
You’ll see too that our campaign that began when President Trump took office will continue. On Monday there’ll be a significant set of new sanctions, and the world should know that we will continue to make sure it’s understood that this effort that we’ve engaged in to deny Iran the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapons system, to build out their missile program, we are going to deny them the resources they need to do that thereby keeping American interests and American people safe all around the world.
Two other thoughts as I head out. One, nearly the same time that I’m commencing my trip there are many people headed for Bahrain, where the administration will roll out the economic component of its Middle East peace plan. It was released yesterday. I hope everyone will take a good look at it. It presents a brighter future for Palestinian people anywhere they are in the world.
And then last night there was reporting about a letter that was sent from President Trump to Chairman Kim. I can confirm that that letter was, in fact, sent. And I am hopeful that this will provide a good foundation for us to begin to continue the important discussions with the North Koreans to denuclearize the peninsula.
With that, I’m happy to take a couple of questions.