Iran has been called out as responsible for a series of attack on oil tankers passing through the Gulf of Oman by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At a news conference, Pompeo revealed: “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 declared that Iran was deliberately trying to disrupt the flow of the highly valuable commodity of oil and escalate tensions in the region. He added that the United States would defend its military and assets in the region but did not go into detail.
His comments followed revelations that an unexploded mine was found attached to a Japanese tanker. This is the same type of mine used in an attack on four tankers in the same area a month ago which has also been blamed on Iran.
Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan tweeted that “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,”
He echoed Pompeo’s remarks that the United States did not want to escalate to armed conflict but would if forced.