Mike Pompeo on Iran: US considering range of options including military, says President doesn’t want to go to war
“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. 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 “Face the Nation.”
When asked if a military response was included in that set of actions, Pompeo responded, “Of course.”
“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,” Pompeo added. “President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn’t want to go to war.”
Iran has categorically denied the attacks.
The explosions, which sparked a fire on at least one of the two ships, are still under investigation. Pompeo blamed Iran for the incident, citing intelligence assessments, the weapons used, the level of expertise required and the similarity to other recent attacks. On Fox News Sunday, Pompeo reiterated that is is “unmistakable” that Iran carried out the attacks with a “clear intent to deny transit through the straight.”
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Sunday — before Pompeo‘s interviews aired — that the United States may have carried out “acts of sabotage” against two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman to blame them on Iran and pressure Tehran.
“Is it diplomacy to start a face-off with a revolutionary nation with acts of economic terrorism, [economic sanctions] which they themselves call the toughest ever?” Larijani said. “Is it diplomacy, Mr. Pompeo, to renege on one’s promises in the nuclear agreement?”
British Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood said Sunday that “tensions” in Iran “are a concern for us all,” in an interview with Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge.
Ellwood said that while he understands Iran’s frustrations over the nuclear deal, “that does not give license to start attacking ships.” In a statement Friday, Britain’s Foreign Office said it was “almost certain” that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were behind the attacks.
When pressed Sunday on legal authorization to strike Iran, Pompeo said that the administration “always” has the authorization to “defend American interests.”
“We will see what happens. We are being very tough on sanctions … We’re going to see how to stop (it),” Trump said, before claiming that because of his policies “they are pulling back from everywhere.”
Pompeo also said Sunday on Fox that “President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war — we don’t want a war,” adding, “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.”
Iran will release “significant” information on Monday regarding the scaling back of its commitments to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to Iran’s semi-official news agency, Tasnim on Sunday.
CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz, Nada Bashir, Kieron Mirchandani, Hira Humayun, Jason Hoffman, Barbara Starr, Devan Cole, Eliza Mackintosh and Michelle Kosinski contributed to this report.