Pompeo: U.S. will ‘guarantee freedom of navigation’ in Strait of Hormuz

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

June 16 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the United States is willing to take necessary measures against Iran to ensure safe passage in the Strait of Hormuz.

Pompeo, appearing on Fox New’s Sunday after Thursday’s attacks on oil tankers in the strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, said global forces should place pressure on Iran, which the U.S. has blamed for the attacks, to keep the passage open.

“What you should assume is that we’re going to guarantee freedom of navigation throughout the strait,” he said. “This is an international challenge. This is important to the entire globe. The United States is going to make sure that we take all actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that we achieve that outcome.”

Despite Iran calling U.S. accusations that it carried out the attacks “worrying and alarming” Pompeo reiterated that U.S. officials believe Iran was responsible.

“These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping, on the freedom of navigation, with a clear intent to deny transit through the strait,” Pompeo said. “There’s no doubt. The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence — the world will come to see much of it.”

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In an interview with Fox and Friends on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he doesn’t believe Iran will take action to close off the Strait of Hurmuz.

“If it’s closed, it’s not going to be closed for long,” Trump said. “They know it and they’ve been told on very strong terms.”

Pompeo said Sunday the United States is willing to implement further sanctions and other penalties to prevent Iran from carrying out similar attacks.

“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this. The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior,” he said.

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