Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Tuesday interview that the United States will not allow Iran "to hide behind its proxy forces" in its offenses against American interests in the Middle East.
"We've made clear that we will not allow Iran to hide behind its proxy forces," Pompeo said on the Hugh Hewitt show. "But if American interests are attacked, whether by Iran directly or through its proxy forces, we will respond in an appropriate way against Iran."
Pompeo said that the main threat that Iran poses to the United States in the region is its "underwriting of these proxy forces." This includes any moves by Iran to destabilize the United States's anti-Iran strategy, Pompeo told Hewitt.
"Our strategy has been aimed at diminishing their capacity to support those proxy forces, whether as you described, it's missiles headed to Hezbollah, whether that's inside of Lebanon or in Syria itself, all the things they do to underwrite the Shia militias in Iraq, which fundamentally undermines the Iraqi government's capacity to stand up as an independent government," Pompeo said. "We've seen launches of Iranians missiles out of Yemen by the Houthi proxy forces. These are the kinds of activities that are incredibly destabilizing in the Middle East, and they are among the primary aims of our counter-Iran policy."
Pompeo also addressed the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian shipping in the Persian Gulf and on Saudi pipelines, saying "it seems like it's quite possible" that Iran was behind these attacks.
"We'll continue to develop the situation, and most importantly, we will continue to take acts that protect American interests and that work to deter Iran from misbehavior in the region, which has the real risk of escalating the situation such that the crude oil prices rise, there's chaos in the crude oil markets, something that Iran would see as advantageous to them as they attempt to continue to conduct the terror campaign that they have conducted all around the world for, frankly, the last 40 years," Pompeo said.