Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that “the reason for the challenges to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s economy aren’t the American sanctions... This is massive mismanagement of the Iranian economy”. He went on to contend that “the kleptocrats, the government-owned enterprises, the Qods force operated companies steal money from the Iranian people. The reason that the economy is struggling, and the reason that you see these protests all across the country are because the Iranian leadership has failed the Iranian people”. Pompeo further assessed that “the reason they had to raise gas prices… was because they’re funding Hizbollah, and they’re funding Shiite militias in Iraq. If those monies were put towards better roads, better infrastructure to help the Iranian people, these protests, I think, would calm down immediately”. He also indicated that “we’ve tried to keep the internet open [after the Iranian government cut access during protests], and we’ve done what we can to assist there. We’ve encouraged big companies who sponsor and permit the Iranian leadership to communicate when the Iranian people can’t, to take down those sites. We hope that they will”.
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