Pompeo: Iran responsible for ‘blatant assault’ on oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

As reported by FoxNews

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the “blatant assault” on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier Thursday.

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Pompeo said: “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

He charged that Iran was working to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and this is a deliberate part of a campaign to escalate tension, adding that the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the region, although he did not elaborate.

His comments came shortly after a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News the U.S. Navy saw an unexploded mine attached to the hull of the Panama-listed, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous ship, one of the two ships attacked. It’s the same type of mine used to damage four oil tankers last month in the same area – an attack senior Pentagon officials blamed on Iran.

In a series of tweets, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan praised Navy efforts to rescue those on the Panamanian vessel and called Iran’s “unprovoked attacks” a threat to international security and peace.

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“Iran’s continued unprovoked attacks in the region are a threat to international security and peace and an assault against freedom of navigation on the open seas,” Shanahan posted.

“Iran’s continued unprovoked attacks in the region are a threat to international security and peace and an assault against freedom of navigation on the open seas,” Shanahan posted.

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