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Foreign Policy

Pompeo: Iran Attacked Those Tankers

"This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

National Security Desk · Jun. 14, 2019

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran Thursday, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid the blame squarely on Iran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo declared Thursday. “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.”

Moreover, Pompeo added, “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, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.”

That unprovoked aggression may come with consequences. Pompeo said, “These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran. … Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum-pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.”

In any case, Pompeo concluded, “The international community condemns Iran’s assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians. … The United States will defend its interests and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability.”

As for where this fits in the chronology of recent events, The Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “The assault on the tankers validates the U.S. decision the past month, met with skepticism at the time, to send the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln into the Gulf along with destroyers and cruisers, in the expectation that Iran was planning an attack in the region. Indeed it was.”

And a footnote: One of the responding U.S. Navy vessels was the USS Bainbridge. Students of history will recall that the Bainbridge also hosted the SEALs who killed the Maersk Alabama hijackers. Seems like the Revolutionary Guard is playing with fire — especially considering they’re literally caught on video released by U.S. Central Command.

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