National Security

Continetti: Pompeo ‘Will Be a Strong Voice’ to Check Iran

Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said Friday that Mike Pompeo will take a critical stance toward Iran as secretary of state.

Appearing on Fox News' "The Daily Briefing With Dana Perino," Continetti discussed how the Trump administration appears to be taking a harder line against Iranian ambitions. Pompeo was tapped by Trump to take the place of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who diverged from Trump on U.S. policy toward Iran.

"Every place there's mischief in the Middle East—you said Iraq, Syria, let's not forget Yemen, where there’s that awful civil war taking place—Iran's fingerprints are behind it," he said. "This has been an under-covered story with the Trump administration being increasingly tough on Iran."

Continetti said Pompeo would join others in the administration, such as Nikki Haley, who are critical of Iran, and Pompeo is skeptical of former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

"Now with Mike Pompeo, who is not only a critic of the nuclear deal but also a critic of the repression of the Iranian government, I think he will be a strong voice for deterrence and rewriting or just tearing up that nuclear deal," Continetti said.

Continetti said European leaders are trying to find a way to sanction Iran while preserving the nuclear deal, but Trump is not beholden to keeping it.

"As you recall, President Trump says this is the worst deal ever," Continetti said. "Elevating Mike Pompeo to the secretary of state is another sign that President Trump is very likely to end the agreement this coming May."

Perino showed a clip of Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman saying Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the "Hitler of the Middle East," and she asked Continetti to respond. He said Khamenei is likely bringing Iran into deeper conflict with the U.S. and its allies.

"Not only is there this external pressure from people like the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration, there's also internal pressure from within Iran that we can't ignore," he said. "The Ayatollah Khamenei, who is in charge of Iran, and his ruling clique are under a lot of pressure from dissidents."

"They had the riots at the end of last year. The economy is in shambles. They have a banking crisis," he added. "There's even criticism that the Iranian foreign policy is overstretched—Iranians wondering, ‘Why is there so much attention paid to Syria and not needs to the economic problems at home?’ So all of these pressures are coalescing into what I think will be a confrontation with Iran in the coming year."