US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defends his tour of Gulf Arab states and the Trump administration’s continued efforts to squeeze Iran, even as a new US administration led by Joe Biden prepares to enter the White House in January.
Although Pompeo has not taken questions from US-based reporters traveling with him over the past 10 days, he sits down with the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya in Dubai for brief televised remarks Sunday.
“Our policies don’t change. Our duty doesn’t change. My responsibilities don’t change,” he says. “I still have an obligation — every hour, every minute — to defend the American people and to keep them foremost in our efforts, and we’ll do that. We’ll do that to the very last minute.”
In what is likely his final tour of the Persian Gulf as secretary of state, he touts the Trump administration’s Mideast strategy that focused on Iran as “the central threat inside the region” and for a maximum pressure campaign that hampered Iran’s ability to support militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
“It’ll be our policy until our time is complete,” he says, stopping short of saying when he’d cease work as the top US diplomat.