US does not want to go to war: Pompeo, Latest World News - The New Paper

US does not want to go to war: Pompeo

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He also defends US conclusions that Iran is behind Gulf attacks, saying more evidence will come to light

WASHINGTON The United States does not want to go to war with Iran but will take every action necessary, including diplomacy, to guarantee safe navigation through vital shipping lanes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

US-Iran tensions are high following accusations by the US that Tehran carried out attacks last Thursday on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has denied having any role.

Mr Pompeo, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, also defended the administration's conclusion that Iran was behind the attack, saying there was other evidence beyond video footage.

"The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it."

Saudi Arabia on Saturday joined the US in blaming Iran for the attacks and called for the international community to take swift action to secure Gulf energy supplies.

The Secretary of State said the US was discussing a possible international response, saying he had made a number of calls to foreign officials on Saturday regarding the attacks.

He cited China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia as countries that rely heavily on freedom of navigation through the straits.

"I'm confident that when they see the risk, the risk of their own economies and their own people and outrageous behaviour of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will join us in this."

The US is already embroiled in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, and has blamed the Middle Eastern country and its surrogates for other acts of aggression in recent months including previous attacks on oil tankers in May and the targeting of US drones in Yemen.

In a separate television interview with Face the Nation on CBS, Mr Pompeo left open the possibility of US military action in the region but declined to discuss what form that might take.

However, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, cast doubt on America's ability to rally the international community to protect shipping lanes and impose sanctions, saying it had alienated its allies.

"The problem is that we are struggling, even in the midst of this solid evidence, to persuade our allies to join us in any kind of a response and it shows just how isolated the United States has become," he told CBS.