"The sanctions on Iran have this ultimate goal: creating an outcome where the Iranian people can have better lives than they have today," Pompeo told Newsmax TV on Thursday, Presstv Reported.
The administration of US President Donald Trump announced on November 5 the reimposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil sales and crucial exports. The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
While the US claims the bans do not target civilians and ordinary people, they are actually hampering the import of food and medicine to the country, endangering the lives of millions of patients in Iran.
Pompeo earlier told BBC Persian that Iranian officials must listen to Washington "if they want their people to eat."
He also said since the re-introduction of the sanctions, there was no sign yet that Iranian officials would return to the negotiating table.
“We have provided, we have accommodated the Iranian people with our sanctions, and it’s now the Iranian government’s responsibility to make sure that they do the right thing…It’s their job to do the right thing for their people,” he noted.
In reaction to his comments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Pompeo’s open threat to starve the Iranian nation was "a crime against humanity" and "a desperate attempt to impose US whims on Iran."
"Like his predecessors, he'll also learn that—in spite of US efforts—Iran will not just survive but advance w/out sacrificing its sovereignty," Zarif said.
US has 'lots of things' to work on with Turkey
In his interview with Newsmax TV, Pompeo also referred to Washington’s ties with Ankara, saying the US has "lots of things to work on with the Turks" and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"There are places where they are very supportive of the things that Americans care about, which keep Americans safe," Pompeo said.
"There are other places where we have real concerns," the secretary added. "We still have Americans who are being held there. The conversation with the Turks continues."
Pompeo also announced that National Security Adviser John Bolton and Jim Jeffrey, special representative for Syrian engagement, will meet with Turkish officials next week "to talk about Syria.”
"There are lots of places where we need to work with President Erdogan and the Turkish leadership to get good outcomes for the United States."
The comments came as the US is reportedly evacuating its military bases in Syria after President Trump pledged to pull American forces out of the war-torn Arab country.
America’s military presence in northern parts of Syria, where US troops are working closely with Kurdish groups, have drawn fire from Turkey.
Ankara has launched its own military incursion into Syria, with a declared goal of destroying Kurdish groups causing unrest in Turkish territories.
Upon announcing his decision to leave Syria, Trump said Turkey would be taking on the US military responsibilities in the country.