Pompeo set to unveil US “Plan B” to confront Iran

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will unveil the administration’s “Plan B” for countering Iran on Monday, an idea that some critics call a “pipe dream,” while others question whether the administration is coming clean on its goals for the country.

The plan, administration officials say, is to assemble a global coalition to pressure Iran into negotiations on “a new security architecture” that goes beyond its nuclear program. Pompeo’s address, his first major foreign policy speech as secretary, will take place at 9 a.m., ET, at the conservative Heritage Foundation policy group.

“We need a new framework that’s going to address the totality of Iran’s threats,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning told reporters Friday. “This involves a range of things around its nuclear program – missiles, proliferating missiles and missile technology, its support for terrorists, and its aggressive and violent activities that fuel civil wars in Syria and Yemen.”

But many former officials, foreign diplomats and analysts are skeptical, both of the chances a broader pact can come together, and of the administration’s interest in diplomacy with Iran.

“A pipe dream”

“A bigger, better deal is a pipe dream,” said Robert Einhorn, a former State Department official and non-proliferation expert who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Speaking at a Brookings event on Iran, Einhorn argued that, “the real objective is not really a bigger, better, deal, the real objective is to put immense pressure on Iran” to weaken the regime.

Einhorn added that, “the not so hidden objective of certain members of the administration is regime change.”

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