The Biden administration must take seriously the threat from Iranian “hit squads” intent on killing U.S. officials on American soil, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, days after revelations that an Iranian paramilitary tried to carry out an assassination plot against him.
In an exclusive interview with The Washington Times over the weekend, Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. has an obligation to protect any public figures who come under threat from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“The Iranians have made a public concerted effort to come after those who had executed American policy, including me. They’ve made no secret about this. The senior leadership in the IRGC has spoken about this, so have others,” Mr. Pompeo said. “They are determined and capable.”
“And as with every American citizen, the United States government has a responsibility to not only prevent them from taking action, but to take down these networks in the country,” he said. “So that ought to be the focus and I think not only me and my family, but every American should be counting on them to do this — to make sure [the IRGC] cannot operate hit squads inside the United States of America. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Mr. Pompeo‘s comments came just days after the U.S. Justice Department brought charges against IRGC member Shahram Poursafi, alleging that the 45-year-old offered to pay up to $300,000 to kill former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton. Mr. Pompeo also reportedly was targeted in the plot.
The assassination was meant to be direct retaliation for a January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
But those charges haven’t dissuaded the Biden administration from continuing to pursue diplomacy with Iran. The administration wants to revive an Obama-era deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief.
Mr. Pompeo said such an approach is a mistake.
The U.S. “shouldn’t cut any kind of deal with them, not just because they’re trying to kill Americans, but because they’re trying to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” he said.
“They are the malign actor in the Middle East by far,” Mr. Pompeo said. “They possess the greatest threat to the United States and our security interests and our economic interests in the region. And so to think that somehow you’re going to re-enter an old, stale, tired deal that now has expiration dates that are just dozens of months away, seems silly on its face and very, very dangerous in terms of all the things that matter most to us.”