THE US is “considering a full range of options” including using its mighty military capabilities amid rising tensions with Iran.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke out after the hardline state was accused of launching a bomb attack on an American-linked oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.
“The United States is considering a full range of options. We have briefed the President a couple of times, we’ll continue to keep him updated,” he said.
“We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set,” Pompeo said in an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation.
When questioned if a military response was one of the options, Pompeo responded: “Of course.”
He then added: “The President will consider everything we need to do to make sure, right? But what’s the President said? We don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.
“President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn’t want to go to war.”
An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack[/caption]
What we know so far:
- Two oil tankers were seriously damaged in the suspected torpedo attack
- The US believes Iran is definitely to blame for the shocking attacks
- Mike Pompeo reveals America is now considering a military intervention
- The Pentagon released images and footage as “proof” of Iranian involvement
- The Royal Navy is sending Marines to to the region amid the threat of war
- Tehran has accused America of ‘Iranophobia’ and says it is innocent
- Almost 50 sailors had to be rescued from the stricken tankers in the Gulf
- Oil prices surged by 3.5 per cent after the suspected terror attack
- Iran’s foreign minister has branded the explosions as “suspicious”
- The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is now investigating the suspected torpedo attack
And when asked if the administration had the legal authorisation to strike Iran without approval from Congress, Pompeo said: “We always have the authorisation to defend American interests.”
Pompeo’s comments came after two tankers were attacked near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz.
Both the Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous – which was reportedly bombed – burst into flames and were forced to evacuate in the troubled region.
The Pentagon also released images and footage as “proof” of Iranian involvement in last week’s attack.
It was also revealed the US Navy is sending the guided missile destroyer USS Mason to the scene of the attacks.
The Royal Navy is also set to send Marines to the region amid rising tensions.
However, a senior Iranian official told the BBC: “Iran has no connection with the incident.”
The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.
The United States has video and photos that show an Iranian navy boat removing an unexploded mine attached to the hull of the Japanese-owned chemical tanker, reports CNN.
Norwegian shipping firm Frontline, which owns the Altair, was forced to deny Iranian reports that the tanker had sunk.
US and Iran – a troubled history
- Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran was one of America’s biggest allies in the Middle East and was led by the US-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
- However, since the seismic revolt, Iran has been led by murderous Islamic fundamentalists and tensions with Washington have remained ever since.
- On November 4, 1979, the Iranian regime took 52 US diplomats hostage in response to President Carter’s administration allowing Iran’s deposed former leader into America.
- The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and also included a failed rescue mission which cost the lives of eight US soldiers.
- In April 1980, the US ended diplomatic relations with Iran – a break which lasted for more than 30 years.
- In April 1983, Washington blamed the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah for carrying out a bombing attack on the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
- The assault, carried out amid a brutal civil war in Lebanon, killed 17 Americans.
- In November of that year, two truck bombs in Beruit killed 241 US peace keepers. The US again blamed Hezbollah for the incident.
- The Clinton White House, in 1995, placed a total embargo on Iran meaning US companies could not trade with the country.
- And in 2002, George W Bush included the Islamic Republic in his famous “Axis of evil” speech along with North Korea and Iraq.
The ship was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands – a US associated state in the Pacific Ocean.
Chartered by Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC Corp, the huge vessel set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung on June 30.
Speaking to Reuters, the CEO of CPC’s petrochemical division Wu I-Fang said the tanker was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo.”
He said it was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30 million.
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The attacks came as tensions in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iran are threatening to reach boiling point.
A Saudi-led coalition has described the attack as a “major escalation”.
In recent weeks, Washington has sent a number of battle ships to the region in response to what it says are Iranian threats against American interests and its allies in the region.
Huge plumes of thick black smoke billow from the massive tanker in the Gulf of Oman following a suspected torpedo attack[/caption]
One of the tankers on fire in the Gulf of Oman following the suspected torpedo attack[/caption]