Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran is directly responsible for attacks on an oil tanker cruising off the coast of Iran in the Gulf of Oman.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon at the State Department, Pompeo declared the Iranian regime "a clear threat to international peace and security," and explicitly stated that Iranian forces were responsible for Thursday's attacks, citing intelligence and the sophistication of the attacks.
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Two tankers caught fire early Thursday morning, causing their crew to abandon ship. The attacks came just weeks after four tankers were attacked in a similar region near the Strait of Hormuz.
"This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests," Pompeo added.
Pompeo called the unprovoked attacks "a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation," and said they are just another example of "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran."
The Secretary of State also said the international community condemned the attacks and instructed the acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to raise in the issue in the U.N. Security Council meeting set for late Thursday afternoon.
"Iran should meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not with terror, bloodshed, and extortion," Pompeo stated.
"The United States will defend its forces, interests, and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability," the Secretary of State said, concluding his press conference. "We call upon all nations threatened by Iran's provocative acts to join us in that endeavor."