U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Japan and South Korea in an effort to build a “global coalition” against Iran. The Secretary of State wants these five Asian powers to get behind the United States in its campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, but he didn’t not rule out a U.S. military response if Tehran were to engage in further acts of aggression.

“The world understands who the aggressor is here,” he said. The Iranian regime “has taken them in a direction that their people surely do not want. So how we will respond to any particular act that the Islamic Republic of Iran takes, the President will decide when we get there,” he added.

The U.S. proposal for a ‘global coalition’ comes a day after President Trump vowed to put additional sanctions on the regime after Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday.

The Secretary of State proposed the idea for a global alliance in the following statement before embarking on the first round of his five nation tour on Sunday:

Our first stops will be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two great allies in the challenge that Iran presents, and we’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states but in Asia and in Europe that understands this challenge and that is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.

You’ll see too that our campaign that began when President Trump took office will continue. On Monday there’ll be a significant set of new sanctions, and the world should know that we will continue to make sure it’s understood that this effort that we’ve engaged in to deny Iran the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapons system, to build out their missile program, we are going to deny them the resources they need to do that thereby keeping American interests and American people safe all around the world.

He also posted a brief comment on Twitter before heading for the Middle East:

The Treasury Department is also mulling the tightening of sanctions on Iranian banking system for regime’s involvement in money-laundering and terrorism financing. The Trump administration is pulling out all stops to isolate the regime which Secretary of State Pompeo identified as the “world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Tehran not to take President’s decisions to stand down on retaliatory strike for downing of the drone as a sign of military weakness. “Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East,” Bolton said Sunday.

Following Iran’s recent aggression on the high seas, Washington has proposed an international force to protect the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil shipping lane, news reports said. Last Thursday, two oil tankers were attacked in the international waters. The U.S. has released video footage and imagery showing Iranian involvement the attacks. “There have been too many attacks,” U.S. Special Representative to Iran, Brian Hook, said while calling for a multinational naval protection force in the Gulf. “We could have had an environmental disaster and extensive loss of life due to reckless Iranian provocations.”

While the U.S. Navy came to the rescue of the damaged Norwegian and Japanese tankers last week, President Trump wants Asian countries like China and Japan to take the lead. “All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey,” the President tweeted on Monday.


Cover image via YouTube]

 

 
 
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