UPDATED 6:43 AM PT — Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling on world leaders to deter Iran from securing the Persian Gulf. In an interview with Australian media over the weekend, Pompeo introduced a global coalition to promote freedom of navigation and commerce in the Western Asia waterway. This comes days after Iran reportedly seized a privately-owned Iraqi oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz.
“Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, has demonstrated its willingness to pull commercial vessels from the sea…it put mines on six ships, it pulled a British vessel from the waters, it’s still holding that ship and we just think that’s wrong and needs to be protected against,” stated Pompeo. “And the best way to do that is deterrence, to create stability, so what we’ve asked 60 plus nations to do is provide assistance in deterring from and securing the Strait of Hormuz…so that commercial vessels can travel through there.”
The White House official says the proposed operation will aim to protect world economies dependent on the passage without instigating a violent conflict.
“We want to make sure we have a comprehensive program, so that Iran won’t do something that will either A; risk that there will be a kinetic conflict, which is something the United States certainly doesn’t want, but second, that we protect the Australian economy, and the Japanese economy, and the South Korean economy, who each depend on goods being able to flow through that strait,” explained the U.S. secretary of state.
During his stay in Sydney, Pompeo reportedly convinced Australian leaders to give “serious consideration” in joining the coalition. The Australian government says it is concerned by the heightened tensions in the region, but has not yet made a decision.