UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)
US General Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy to deter challenges posed by US opponents that also apply to China and Russia, easing assertion that Iran’s top general was killed because he was planning to launch Imminent attacks on American targets.
In his speech at Stanford Hoover Institution, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani. This came only in response to a question during which he reiterated his previous assertion that pre-empting such conspiracies was the cause of a US airliner strike on January 3 against Iran’s second-most powerful official.
His speech, entitled “Restoring Deterrence: The Iranian Example,” focused on what he called the administration’s strategy to build a “real deterrence” against Iran after Republican and Democratic policies that had encouraged Tehran to “malicious activity.”
Democrats and some Republican lawmakers rejected the administration’s justification that the attack was aimed at self-defense and was supported by undisclosed intelligence about imminent attacks. U.S. President Donald Trump said that potential targets include four US embassies.
On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esber said he had not seen any advance warning of impending attacks on embassies.
On Monday, Trump stoked the controversy again when he said, “It really doesn’t matter” if Soleimani was such an imminent threat.
Pompeo said there was a “greater strategy” behind the killing of Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, which is Iran’s foreign espionage unit and the paramilitary force of the Revolutionary Guards.
“President Trump and the leaders of us on the national security team are rebuilding deterrence, the real deterrent, against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.
“Your opponent must understand that not only do you have the ability to impose costs but you are in fact ready to do so,” he added, adding that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in 2018 had emboldened Tehran.
He said, “America now enjoys the best position of strength we have never been in relation to Iran,” referring to the damage caused to the Iranian economy due to the US sanctions that Trump imposed after his withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.
“The importance of deterrence is not limited to Iran … In all cases, we must deter enemies to defend freedom. This is the main point of President Trump’s work to make our army the strongest it has ever been. ”
He recalled the resumption of military aid to Ukraine to counter separatists backed by Russia, Trump’s withdrawal from the arms control agreement with Moscow and new medium-range cruise missile tests.
He also spoke about the increase of US naval exercises in the South China Sea in response to the militarization of China by the disputed islands and Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports as aspects of the administration’s deterrence strategy.
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