WASHINGTON: The United States aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops ordered to be deployed in the Gulf region are for "deterrence and defence," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Pompeo added that he is confident President Donald Trump would take action if such deterrence measures fail and that this is well understood by the Iranian leadership.
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"Our mission set is to avoid war," Pompeo said. "You saw what Secretary Esper announced on Friday, we are putting additional forces in the region for the purpose of deterrence and defence," he said.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have further escalated after an attack last weekend on Saudi oil facilities that initially disrupted half of the kingdom’s oil production, and were blamed on Tehran by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Pentagon sending reinforcements to Gulf following attacks in Saudi
US has slapped more sanctions on Iran, penalising the Iranian Central Bank while the Pentagon said it was sending US troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defences after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom's oil facilities.
Pompeo said Washington is taking measures to deter Tehran, but he added that Trump would take necessary action if Tehran failed to change its behaviour. "If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary."