Less than a week after US Secretary of State Secretary Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that the “Iranians are responsible for the starvation’ of Yemeni civilians” he’s again issued hugely provocative words, telling the BBC during an interview that Iranian “leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat” in reference to the latest round of US sanctions.
As the interview was with BBC Persian, Pompeo’s words were immediately translated from English and broadcast to the Iranian publicthrough BBC’s Persian-language publication. Pompeo repeated his theme that Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and a “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East while ultimately blaming the country’s economic suffering on the intransigence of the country’s leaders.
Pompeo’s words came on the heels of Iran’s foreign ministry issuing a formal response to this week’s US sanctions snap back on the energy sector, publishing a 3-minute video of FM Javad Zarif on Tuesday wherein Zarif emphasized that the sanctions mainly targeted average Iranian citizens, referencing “the economic warfare that directly targets the Iranian people.”
The most contentious segment of the BBC interview was as follows:
QUESTION: You say you are not punishing the people. You say that the sanctions are not targeting the people. But what if —
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, they’re not.
QUESTION: But what if the sanctions hurt the Iranian people, the ordinary lives of them?
SECRETARY POMPEO: The folks who are hurting the Iranian people are the ayatollah and Qasem Soleimani and the Iranian leadership. That’s who is bringing the difficulties to Iran today.
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