President Trump on Friday warned Iran over this week’s attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. blames directly on Tehran, saying in an interview with “Fox & Friends” that, “We don’t take it lightly.”
“Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” he said, before pointing to video that showed an Iranian vessel removing an unexploded mine attached to a Japanese-owned oil tanker.
Trump said the mine had “Iran written all over it.”
But he said that Iran had been damaged since he took office, but was still a threat.
“They’re a nation of terror and they’ve changed a lot since I’ve been president, I can tell you.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the Iranians had launched a “blatant assault” on tankers in the gulf.
Pompeo said that Iran was working to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and this is a deliberate part of a campaign to escalate tension, adding that the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the region.
In a series of tweets, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan praised Navy efforts to rescue those on the Panamanian vessel and called Iran’s “unprovoked attacks” a threat to international security and peace.
“Iran’s continued unprovoked attacks in the region are a threat to international security and peace and an assault against freedom of navigation on the open seas,” Shanahan posted.
The tensions are the latest since the U.S. announcement of its withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran is now also threatening to withdraw from the accord and resume enriching uranium if new terms are not offered.