Pompeo says ‘lots of evidence’ proves Iran attacked oil tankers
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said more evidence will be released to show Iran was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the Trump administration is weighing all options – including military – in response.
“The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence – the world will come to see much of it,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks, as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world over the past 40 days.”
Pompeo said there is “no doubt” that Iran wants to disrupt maritime transportation in the Strait of Hormuz – the waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman – by carrying out the attacks on two oil tankers last week.
The secretary of state said he hopes the threat of force against Iran will persuade Tehran to stop acting belligerently in the region.
“The United States is considering a full range of options,” Pompeo said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We have briefed the president a couple of times. We’ll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set.”
Asked if military action was being considered, he replied, “Of course.”
He also said he believes the White House can strike Iran without first getting the OK from Congress.
”We always have the authorization to defend American interests,” he said, adding that the administration would only take “lawful” actions.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated since Trump in 2018 withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration and a number of global powers signed in 2015.
Trump also reimposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic and recently ended waivers that allow some countries to buy oil Iranian oil.
Last month, after picking up intelligence that Iran was preparing to attack US troops in the Middle East, Trump ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers to Qatar.
Pompeo last week accused Iran of attacking oil tankers belonging to Japan and Norway in the Gulf of Oman and pointed to a video of an Iranian patrol boat removing a limpet mine from the hull of the Japanese ship.
Iran has denied involvement in the attacks and said the US is accusing them without evidence.
Others have expressed skepticism over the US’ claims, including the Japanese company that owned the tanker, saying they don’t believe a mine or torpedo was used because the ship was hit above the waterline.
But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also blamed Iran for the attacks and said the kingdom “won’t hesitate” to respond to any threats from its rival, according to the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
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