Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Fox News and CNN on Friday morning about the White House's rationale to take out Iran's top elite general, Qasem Suleimani, saying "there was an imminent attack" in the works and "imminent threats to American lives" which had to be stopped.
Describing a "major attack" the IRGC Quds Force cheif was allegedly plotting, Pompeo said, "What was sitting before us was his travels throughout the region, his efforts to make a significant strike against Americans." He added, "There would have been many Muslims killed, Iraqis, people in other countries as well."
"It was time to take action," Pompeo asserted, while also citing "dozens and dozens" of attacks by Iran and its proxies over the last few months. The US top diplomat also referenced "an American killed on Dec.27" — in reference to the US contractor slain during an alleged Iraqi Shia militia rocket attack on a Kirkuk base the prior Friday.
It was now the time to "take action to restore deterrence" after Trump had shown immense restraint in the face of a series of attacks on US personnel and interests, Pompeo explained.
Yet Pompeo also emphasized during the Fox segment, “We don't seek war with Iran.”
And also appearing on CNN's "New Day," the Secretary of State underscored that President Trump's decision for the targeted strike on Suleimani's convoy along the Baghdad Airport perimeter overnight "saved American lives".
“We don't seek war with Iran,” Pompeo says on Fox News this morning. pic.twitter.com/RR0ZShLkDb— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 3, 2020
"I can't talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President's decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives," Pompeo told CNN.
The IRGC general had been "actively plotting" in the region to "take big action, as he described it, that would have put hundreds of lives at risk," according to Pompeo.
I spoke today with Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jiechi to discuss @realDonaldTrump's decision to eliminate Soleimani in response to imminent threats to American lives. I reiterated our commitment to de-escalation.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020
Pompeo didn't cite specific evidence or 'proof' of his claims, but said the decision making at the White House was driven by a US intelligence based assessment, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, the region and the world is bracing for a promised coming "severe retaliation" from Iran's leadership, itself still in shock and mourning over the death of the most visible military commander in Islamic Republic's recent history.