US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday in an interview on the Fox News program “Hannity” the American strike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimeini was carried out because the military leader was planning attacks that would have led to the deaths of “significant amounts of Americans.”
Pompeo said Soleimani was actively plotting an imminent attack “that could have killed dozens or hundreds of Americans. We found an opportunity and we delivered . . . we took him off the battlefield.”
The US has been focused on building a coalition between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia against Iran’s radical Islamist government and its military, Pompeo said.
“They all recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran is the problem in the region,” Pompeo said, “not the others. We’re not going to appease any longer, we’re going to take on this challenge. And while President Trump made it very clear, we don’t want war, that wasn’t the aim, that wasn’t the goal of the strike that we took . . . indeed, it was to stop it. [But] President Trump has made equally clear that when American lives are at risk he will act quickly, he will act decisively, he will act to disrupt. We will hope that leads to deterrence as well.”
However, Pompeo added, the Europeans still need to wake up to the reality that Iran is the problem, and not President Trump.
“The Brits, the French, the Germans, all need to understand that what we did – what the Americans did – saved lives in Europe as well.
“Qassem Soleimani led, and his IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) led assassination campaigns in Europe. This was a good thing for the entire world, and we are urging everyone in the world to get behind what the United States is trying to do, to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to simply behave like a normal nation.”