Ex-US intel officer: Pompeo ‘lying through his teeth’ on Iran

The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Iran and defying Iraq’s call for a US troop withdrawal. This comes as the stated rationale for the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is being increasingly undermined.

Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, analyzes the increased White House coercion efforts and collapsing intelligence claims.

Guest: Scott Ritter — former UN Weapons Inspector, former Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, and author of Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The Trump administration is facing pushback from Iran and Iraq following its assassination of top leaders from both countries in Baghdad. Washington’s response so far is more coercion and aggression. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected Iraq’s call for the departure of US troops, despite a recent vote in the Iraqi parliament.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “We are happy to continue the conversation with the Iraqis about what the right structure is. Our mission set there is very clear. We have been there to perform a training mission to help the Iraqi security forces be successful, and to continue the campaign against ISIS, to continue the counter-Da’esh campaign. We’re going to continue that mission.”

Meanwhile the White House announced new sanctions on Iran. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said the new sanctions would target those involved in major sectors of Iran’s economy.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: “I think we have a hundred percent confidence and we are consistent in our view that the economic sanctions are working, that if we didn’t have these sanctions in place, literally, Iran would have tens of billions of dollars. They would be using that for terrorist activities throughout the region, and to enable them to do more bad things. And there’s no question, by cutting off the economics to the regime, we are having an impact.”

The new sanctions come on top of existing sanctions that have already seriously harmed Iran’s economy and people. And all this comes as the Trump administration’s stated reasons for starting this current crisis continue to unravel. The Washington Post reports that on the same day that the US killed Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad, the US also tried to murder a senior Iranian military official in Yemen. That mission failed. And this failed assassination raises more doubt that the US was trying to prevent an imminent attack as it claimed. Instead, it appears the US was carrying out an assassination campaign against Iran and its allies. Even Mike Pompeo is having a hard time sticking to the official story. In an interview with Fox News, he seemed to acknowledge there was no imminent attack to thwart.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: There is no doubt there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted. We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where. But it was real.”

There was already ample reason to question the White House account – especially because the Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has said that Soleimani came to Baghdad not to plot an attack, but to carry out a diplomatic mission aimed at reducing tensions with Saudi Arabia.

Guest: Scott Ritter — former UN Weapons Inspector, former Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, and author of Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal.