Al-Monitor – United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his much-anticipated Cairo speech on Jan. 9. The speech, delivered at the American University of Cairo, was supposed to be a rebuke of President Barack Obama’s policies and an overall of condemnation of Iran.
Pompeo mentioned Iran 27 times during his speech — far more than any other country ever has. He referred to Iran as “our common enemy,” criticized the previous administration for not supporting the 2009 Iranian post-election protests, and talked about US efforts to sanction Iran and roll back its regional influence, saying that the United States will work with partners to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria.
The speech, however, failed to set a new tone or even reset the narrative Obama had presented in Cairo in 2009. Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted, “Mike Pompeo attacked a speech that Barack Obama gave 10 years ago by giving a speech that no one will remember next week.” Former US diplomats also panned the speech, with one former official saying of their focus on Obama’s Cairo speech, “Get over it.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed a similar sentiment, tweeting, “Best for the US to get over the loss of Iran,” referencing US influence in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.