Tuesday 26 May 2020
News ID: 67071
Publish Date: 16 June 2019 - 21:54
WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The United States does not want to go to war with Tehran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday even he repeated his accusation that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two tankers last week.
In an interview with "Fox News Sunday”, Pompeo said, "President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war. We don’t want war.” The top U.S. diplomat claimed that Washington will guarantee free navigation through vital shipping areas.
"The United States is going make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said.
U.S.-Iran tensions are high following accusations by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump that Tehran carried out attacks last Thursday on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital oil shipping route. Iran has denied having any role.
"The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it,” said Pompeo, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming secretary of state.
Pompeo said he did not want to discuss possible next steps the United State might take in response to last week’s developments.
Iran's parliament speaker hinted that Washington could be behind the "suspicious" tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman to pile pressure on Tehran.
"The suspicious actions against the tankers... seem to complement the economic sanctions against Iran considering that (the US) has not achieved any results from them," Ali Larijani told MPs.
He backed his claim by saying there had been a precedent "during World War II, when Americans targeted their own ships near Japan to create an excuse for hostility".
A non-belligerent state at the beginning of World War II, the U.S. went to war after Japan's surprise attack on the American Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941.
A Japanese-owned tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, and a Norwegian-operated one, the Front Altair, were attacked on Thursday and left ablaze as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman
The Japanese government has been requesting the United States for concrete evidence to back its accusations against Iran, government sources said Sunday.
The Japanese ship operator on Friday disputed the U.S. claims, saying its sailors on board the Kokuka Courageous saw "flying objects" just before the attack, suggesting the tanker wasn't damaged by mines.
"The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole," President Yutaka Katada of Kokuka Sangyo told a press conference in Tokyo. "Then some crew witnessed the second shot."
Kyodo News on Sunday cited the unnamed sources as reiterating that Japanese government officials remain unconvinced about U.S. accusations. "The U.S. explanation has not helped us go beyond speculation," said one senior government official.
Japan has been seeking more concrete evidence through various channels, including Foreign Minister Taro Kono who is likely to have made the request during a call with his counterpart on Friday, the sources said.
A source close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, "These are not definite proof that it's Iran."
"Even if it's the United States that makes the assertion, we cannot simply say we believe it," he said.
If having expertise sophisticated enough to conduct the attack could be a reason to conclude that the attacker was Iran, "That would apply to the United States and Israel as well," said a source at the Foreign Ministry.
The attacks occurred around the time Abe was meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
"The attacks have severely affected the prime minister's reputation as he was trying to be a mediator between the United States and Iran," said the source close to the premier. "It is a serious concern, and making mistakes when determining facts is impermissible."
The Japanese government has refrained so far from commenting on who is responsible for the attacks.
Intelligence organizations in Occupied Palestine and the West are accusing Iran of being responsible for Thursday’s attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, as it was for other incidents in recent weeks in the area. But what they’re not yet providing is evidence to prove it, Israel’s Haaretz daily wrote on Sunday.
"And when we take into account historical precedents (notably the claims before the 2003 Iraq War that Saddam’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction), U.S. President Donald Trump’s credibility problem and European concerns about an unnecessary war, it’s no wonder the media chatter about the crisis is filled with skepticism,” it said.

* Comment: