Monday, 18 December, 2017

Brief look at new head of the CIA’s stances on Iran

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By Vahid Jafarian, Editorial Board Member

The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Mike Pompeo to run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), giving President Donald Trump confirmation of his third appointee to lead an agency.

In a 66-32 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo as the next director of the CIA.

Pompeo has a record as a strong supporter of the Israeli government and a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal.

As recently as last November, mere days after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 elections, Pompeo declared on Twitter, with regards to the Iran nuclear deal. “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

The tweet was published before Trump announced Pompeo was his candidate for CIA Director. On Monday night, Pompeo’s Twitter account was taken off the social network, in line with CIA policy.

During his confirmation period, Pompeo assured worried Democrats – among them Senator Feinstein – that as CIA Director, he would “objectively monitor” the nuclear deal’s implementation by Iran, despite his opposition to the deal while he was a member of Congress.

In the summer of 2015, at the height of the debate over the Iran deal, Pompeo said that the deal “won’t stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb and places Israel at more risk.”

He also said that the “theory that post-sanctions Iran will moderate is a joke – they want to annihilate Israel, now buying Russian missiles.”

Pompeo also criticized the Obama administration for not demanding that Iran cease calling for Israel’s destruction as part of the deal – a demand proposed and promoted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“Ceasing to call for the destruction of Israel should have been a condition of the Iran Deal – along with release of innocent American hostages,” Pompeo said in a statement.

In interviews and written pieces, Pompeo has pointed to Iran as the primary source of conflict in the Middle East since Tehran’s 1979 revolution.

“Ayatollah Khamenei watches America allow Iran to expand its power while our president writes him missives ensuring we will protect Iran’s interests. This is dangerous. The Islamic Republic cannot even feed its own people without access to markets and our president rewards that nation, which has killed countless Americans, with sanctions relief.” Pompeo said on Dec. 3, 2014.

As well as opposing the 2014 nuclear deal with Iran, Pompeo has sponsored a series of bills that would increase sanctions on Iran. Earlier in 2016, he and two other House Republicans requested visas to visit Iran to monitor the parliamentary elections in February.

Pompeo also is well respected in the Jewish community, where Iran tops the list of key issues constituents are concerned about.

“Even the most hardcore Trump skeptics on the right will be praising the Pompeo pick,” said one senior official at a national Jewish organization. “He’s scary smart, his national security instincts are unimpeachable, and he’s been a leader in trying to limit the damage done by the Iran deal. The team he assembled in his congressional office kept him deeply briefed on foreign policy issues, so he’ll be able to hit the ground running.”

Haaretz, FT and freebeacon contributed to this report

Photo: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) finishes swearing in Mike Pompeo, flanked by his wife Susan Pompeo, to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the vice presidents ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017 (Reuters)    

 

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