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Soleimani remained in Pompeo’s eyes for years before his assassination in Iraq

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani has been in the eye of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a long time before Pompeo appeared on television and on Twitter on Friday to justify Washington’s decision to assassinate Soleimani.

In 2015, when Pompeo was a member of Congress from Kansas calling for regime change in Iran while the administration of former President Barack Obama sought to reach out to Tehran, he said that Soleimani, the second most powerful man in Iran, was “stained with the blood of hundreds of American soldiers”, It is a sentence he repeated on Friday after the US air strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad.

And in July 2017, when Pompeo became director of the CIA in President Donald Trump’s administration, his stance on regime change in Iran may have become less clear.

But in response to a question during the Aspen Security Forum whether regime change in Iran represented a realistic and viable option, Pompeo said, “The people who are causing harm, Qasim Soleimani and his gang, have not been elected. These are people who are very focused on ensuring that they do not continue to maintain strength and power. ”

Pompeo announced later in 2017 that he had sent a letter to Soleimani and other Iranian leaders regarding Iran’s increasingly dangerous behavior in Iraq, warning that the United States would hold them responsible for “any attacks on American interests by forces under their control”.

“We wanted to make sure that he (Soleimani) and the leadership in Iran understand this in a crystal clear way,” Pompeo told the Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

After Pompeo learned through the Iranian media that Soleimani refused to open the speech, he said, “Frankly, my heart was not broken.”

After assuming the post of foreign minister in 2018, Pompeo took a markedly more hawkish stance toward Iran compared to his predecessors in the post and he mentioned Soleimani by name in speeches and interviews.

When Trump decided to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that the Obama administration negotiated, Pompeo was one of the loudest voices in favor of the “extreme pressure campaign” that included reimposing U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2018.

Pompeo said on Friday that the strike that killed Soleimani was aimed at staving off an “imminent attack” that would have endangered the lives of Americans in the Middle East.

Pompeo, in two interviews with Fox News and CNN, declined to go into the details of the alleged threat, but said that an “intelligence-based assessment” indicated that Soleimani was planning an action in the Middle East region that would offer life Dozens if not hundreds of Americans are at risk. ”

Trump said in a tweet that Soleimani “killed thousands of Americans dead and injured over a long period of time and was planning to kill more and more.”

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