Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to satisfy with U.S. military leaders supervising American forces in the Middle East after assuring to offer more evidence that Iran was behind attacks on two tankers recently, the State Department said Monday.
Pompeo is set up to fly on Monday to U.S. Central Command head office in Tampa, Florida, in the middle of installing stress with Iran following the attacks on the 2 industrial ships recently in the Gulf of Oman, which the Trump administration has blamed on Iran.
Pompeo will hold talks on Tuesday with Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, who is accountable for forces released in the Middle East, and Gen. Richard Clarke, head of U.S. Unique Operations Command, “to go over regional security concerns and continuous operations,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus informed reporters.
A defense official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, informed NBC News that Pompeo’s see to Central Command was formerly scheduled and not arranged as a result of the attacks recently on the 2 tankers.
The State Department did not react to demands for comment.
The secretary of state said on CBS’ “Face the Country” on Sunday that the administration was considering a “complete range of options” to deter Iran. Asked if military action was among those options, Pompeo stated: “Naturally.”
While he did not straight respond to concerns about whether the administration would send out more forces to the Persian Gulf, Pompeo stated on Sunday that Washington will make sure the safe transit of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
” This is a worldwide difficulty,” Pompeo stated on Fox News. “This is essential to the entire world. The United States is going to make sure that we take all actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, to accomplish that outcome.”
Former U.S. officials and regional specialists say the Trump administration will likely weigh releasing more aircraft and other resources to broaden security and intelligence event over shipping routes around the tactical Strait of Hormuz. About 30 percent of the world’s seaborne unrefined oil passes through the narrow strait, a choke point that lies along Iran’s coast.
Pompeo met acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Thursday after openly accusing Iran of carrying out the attacks on the 2 ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran has vehemently denied any function in the attacks on the tankers.
Authorities in Japan, Germany and the European Union have suggested more info is required before concluding that Iran orchestrated the explosions that crippled the 2 tankers, forcing their teams to evacuate.
Both vessels were carrying oil products. One ship was Norwegian-owned and the other was Japanese-owned.
The Pentagon launched a grainy video recently that it states shows an Iranian patrol boat crew removing a product from one of the commercial ships that the administration states is an unexploded mine.
Following the release of the clip, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas appealed for more info on the incident, stating the video was “insufficient.”
However Pompeo rejected ideas that the U.S. evaluation remained in doubt. “The German foreign minister has actually seen a good deal more than just that video,” Pompeo stated on CBS. “He will continue to see more.”
Iran is under growing financial pressure after the Trump administration enforced a worldwide embargo on Tehran’s oil exports. The nation deals with rampant inflation and political leaders are threatening to desert a 2015 nuclear contract signed with world powers if it does not see some financial remedy for European governments soon.
On Monday, Iran said it would breach limits on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days, breaching a provision of the nuclear deal.
” We have actually quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg (661 pounds) limit,” Iran’s Atomic Energy Company spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated on state TV.
However he also said there was still time for European states to rescue the nuclear accord by providing some financial benefits to Iran.
The nuclear accord imposed limits on Iran’s atomic program designed to avoid it from establishing nuclear weapons in return for lifting global and some U.S. sanctions. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the contract last year but European federal governments have urged Iran to follow the offer.
Hours after Iran’s announcement, the European Union’s diplomacy chief, Federica Mogherini, said it would continue to implement the nuclear accord and would wait for the findings of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Company.
Mogherini called for “optimal restraint” and expressed concern over “the threat of mistakes or unintended escalations.”
She added that “what we would not like to see is a military escalation in the area. We think that would be incredibly dangerous.”
The sanctions enforced by Trump on Iran have put the country under intense pressure, and the routine is trying to find ways to relieve the economic pain, consisting of by threatening to take out of the nuclear offer and pressing other countries to push back versus Washington’s hard method, stated Michael Knights of the Washington Institute think tank.
” This is a nasty chokehold. And the Iranians are going to do anything to get out of it,” Knights said.
Yasmin Vossoughian is an MSNBC anchor. You can capture her on ” Morning Joe First Look” from 5 a.m. – 6 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and Sundays on “Live with Yasmin Vossoughian” at 4 p.m. on MSNBC. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram
Courtney Kube is a correspondent covering national security and the military for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Dan De Luce
Dan De Luce is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.