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Pompeo Repeats His Commitment to Sanctions against Iran, Despite Pandemic Death and Disease

April 8, 2020 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a briefing at the State Department yesterday, clearly indicated that he is not going to back away from the maximum pressure policy and its brutal sanctions, even in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Pompeo claimed that Iran has not at all changed what it has been doing in Lebanon, in Syria, and in Iraq.

“It’s unfortunate for the people of Lebanon, it’s unfortunate for the people of Syria, it’s unfortunate for the people of Iraq, and it’s really unfortunate for the people of Iran....” he said. “We hope that the people of Iran one day will get a regime with a change in outlook, a change which says, ‘No, we want to respect what the Iranian people truly want.’ ”

A day earlier, the State Department put out a “fact sheet” claiming that “Iran’s slick foreign influence campaign to obtain sanctions relief is not intended for the relief or health of the Iranian people but to raise funds for its terror operations.” It said further, “Since 2012, the regime has spent over $16 billion to fund its terror proxies abroad while Iranian healthcare services have remained woefully underfunded.” It also reports the claim, included in every State Department attack on Iran: “U.S. sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran.”

The fact sheet didn’t include Iran’s request for a $5 billion loan from the IMF, but spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus (who hangs out in the same Republican Jewish Coalition circles as John Bolton) went on record yesterday opposing it. Though Tehran says it needs the loan to help the country deal with the pandemic, Ortagus, echoing Pompeo, claimed that Iran would use the money “to help their terrorist proxy groups in the Middle East” and not for the benefit of the Iranian people, she told BBC Persian, reported Sputnik International.

During his opening statement, Pompeo also announced that the U.S. has proposed a strategic dialogue with Iraq for June.

“And all strategic issues between our two countries will be on the agenda, including the future presence of the United States forces in that country, and how best to support an independent and sovereign Iraq,” he said.

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