In Beirut, Secretary Pompeo posited that Lebanon's democracy was "at risk because the Ayatollah Khamenei and [Qods force commander] Qasem Soleimani and the Islamic Republic of Iran want to take over this country; they want to control this state; they want access to the Mediterranean; they want power influence here". In his conversations with Lebanese officials, Pompeo argued, "all understand the importance of keeping the political power out of the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran". He added that "our efforts [to counter Iran] will be everywhere. Our efforts will be intense. Our objective is noble: to help the Iranian people successfully retake the leadership and the governance of their own nation in the way I know they so richly deserve".
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