Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated President Trump's statement on Sunday that Iran has lagged behind the attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz and that the United States is ready to take action if necessary.
Pompeo said in Washington he does not want to get into an armed conflict with Tehran, but hopes that the threat of violence will be enough to bring Iranian leaders to the negotiating table.
"These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on merchant shipping, freedom of navigation, with the clear intention to deny passage through the straits," Pompeo said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." no doubt. The intelligence services have a lot of data, a lot of evidence ̵
Pompeo added," We do not want a war. We have done everything possible to prevent this. The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take measures to prevent Iran from engaging in this type of behavior. "
TRUMP NOT & # 39; WORTHY & # 39; OF RESPONSE, IRANS SUPREME LEADER SAYS AS JAPAN'S ABE TRIES TO EASE TENSIONS
Trump's finger-pointing to Iran publicly shone a spotlight on an opponent whom he accused of terrorism, but also called for negotiations on. The approach is similar to his diplomacy with North Korea, which has silenced the discussion about the war but has not yet achieved its goal of nuclear disarmament. Iran has shown little signs of setback and uncertainty over how far the Trump administration can go with its campaign of increasing pressure from sanctions.
Iran denied any involvement in the attacks and accused Washington of conducting an "Iranan campaign" of economic warfare.
Trump withdrew the United States last year from an international agreement to limit the Iranian nuclear program, which was signed in 2015 under its agreement predecessor, President Barack Obama. Since then, he has reintroduced economic sanctions to force Iranians to return to the negotiating table. Last month, the US ended the exemptions that allowed some countries to continue buying Iranian oil. This is a move that prevents Iran from oil-making and coincides with what US officials refer to as an increase in intelligence services pointing to Iran's preparations for attacks on US forces and interests in Iran's Gulf region.
In response to these intelligence warnings, the US announced on May 5 that it was accelerating the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier Task Force in the Gulf. It also sent four nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Qatar and reinforced its defense in the region through the use of more Patriot air defense systems.
IRAN RESPONSIBLE FOR & # 39; BLATANT ASSAULT & # 39; AT OIL TANKERS, POMPEO SAYS
Officials said the Pentagon's reflections on possibly sending more military resources to the region, including more Patriot rocket batteries, could be sped up The dramatic attack on oil tankers Thursday.
Pompeo called on the international community to increase pressure on Iran. However, the US reserves the right to take the matter into its own hands to ensure safe passage for ships passing the Strait of Hormuz.
"What you should assume is that we will guarantee the freedom of navigation in the straits," he said. "This is an international challenge. This is important for the entire globe. The United States will ensure that we take all necessary diplomatic and other measures to achieve this result. "
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A country with Saudi Arabia is on the side of the US because it blames Iran on the attacks. Controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a statement released on Sunday that the country would not hesitate to face threats to its security.
In an interview with In Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Prince Mohammed said Iran has disrespected Tehran's Japanese Prime Minister's visit last week and reacted to its diplomatic efforts by reducing regional tensions by attacking the two tankers dismantle.
The Crown Prince, however, offered no evidence to support his claim.
"The problem is in Tehran and nowhere else," said Prince Mohammed. "Iran is always the party that escalates in the region and carries out terrorist attacks and criminal attacks, either directly or through its militias."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.