A military vehicle carrying Iranian Zoobin smart bomb (L) and Sagheb missile under pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011..
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)
The international community should support the US in efforts to halt Iranian aggression in international waterways, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, in his first comments about last week’s developments in the Gulf of Oman.
“All peace seeking nations need to support the efforts of the United States and [US] President [Donald] Trump to stop this dangerous [Iranian] aggression and to ensure freedom of navigation in international waterways,” he said.
His comments came at the ceremony on the Golan Heights to mark the naming of a future community there as “Ramat Trump,” after the US president.
Netanyahu’s silence for four days on the matter – he generally is not reticent to speak out against Iran – was widely believed to be due to not wanting to be seen as somehow pushing the US into a military confrontation with Tehran.
Iran will announce further moves on Monday to scale back compliance with an international nuclear pact that the United States abandoned last year, the semi-official Tasnim News Agency reported on Sunday.
“Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization tomorrow at the Arak heavy water site will announce preparatory steps that have been taken to further decrease Tehran’s commitments under the deal,” Tasnim said, without citing sources.
The organization will announce moves to increase stocks of enriched uranium and production of heavy water at Arak, Tasnim reported.
The report comes after remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday that while it is “unmistakable” that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two tankers last week, the United States does not want to go to war with Tehran.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Pompeo said, “President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war. We don’t want war.” But he added that Washington will guarantee free navigation through vital shipping areas.
“The United States is going to make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said.
US-Iran tensions are high following accusations by the Trump administration 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.
Pompeo said he did not want to discuss possible next steps the United State might take in response to last week’s developments.
“The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it,” said Pompeo, who headed the CIA before becoming secretary of state.
“Iran will not get a [nuclear] weapon. That’s the goal,” he said when asked about the possibility of Trump sending more American troops and military hardware to the region. “I made a number of calls to colleagues around the world yesterday. I am confident that we will have partners that understand this threat.”
The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a nuclear weapons program that it abandoned. Tehran denies ever having had one.
Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-introduced sanctions on Tehran.
Iran said in May it would start enriching uranium at a higher level, unless world powers protected its economy from US sanctions within 60 days.
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