By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday it is “unmistakable” that Iran was behind the attacks on two tankers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, leaving one ship in flames and raising tensions even further between Washington and Tehran.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo said the U.S. had a “high degree of confidence” in intelligence placing the blame on Iran, though he was quick to add that President Trump does not “want a war.”
“It is unmistakable what happened here,” Pompeo said. “These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping on the freedom of navigation with the clear intent to deny transit through the Strait.”
“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,” he added.
The president also said last week that he was certain Iran was behind the attacks during a Friday morning interview on Fox News‘ “Fox & Friends” program.
“I guess one of the mines didn’t explode, and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it. And you saw the boat at night, trying to take the mine off and successfully took the mine off the boat. And that was exposed,” he said, referencing video footage released from U.S. Central Command allegedly showing an Iranian patrol boat retrieving an unexploded mine from one of the vessels.
The attacks mark the second major incident involving tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf in a month. In May, a pair of Saudi-flagged oil tankers were also attacked off the coast of the port of Fujairah, according to The Washington Post.
The paper noted that the Saudis blamed Iran for that attack as well, calling it “sabotage.”
Not all U.S. allies accept the United States’ position that Iran is behind the second attack, however, including Japan and Norway, Foreign Policy reported.
“We don’t want a war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo told Fox News Sunday, according to Newsmax. “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this behind some kind of behavior.”
While refusing to discuss how the Trump administration would react to the latest attacks, Pompeo made it clear that the evidence against Iran was stout and that more would eventually be revealed.
“The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it,” he said. “I made a number of calls to colleagues around the world yesterday. I am confident that we will have partners that understand this threat.”
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