The White House is now consulting with the UK, Romania and Israel in the wake of the alleged Iranian drone strike on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman that killed two — but the administration is still ruling out ending nuclear deal negotiations with Iran.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday predicted a “collective response” from the US, UK, Romania and Israel following the deadly July 29 attack on the Israeli-managed tanker.
Blinken said the US is confident Iran was behind the fatal drone strike that killed a Romanian and British national on the Mercer Street tanker.
“We’ve conducted a thorough review and we’re confident that Iran carried out this attack,” Blinken said
“We are in very close contact and coordination with the United Kingdom, Israel, Romania, and other countries, and there will be a collective response.”
Iran has denied any involvement and vowed to respond promptly to security threats after the US, UK and Israel blamed Tehran.
The strike on the tanker, which is owned by a Japanese company but managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime, marked the first-known fatal attack after several years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran.
Despite blaming Tehran, the Biden administration has ruled out walking away from attempts to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that rejoining the nuclear deal with Iran was in the US’ “national interest.”
“Our view is that every single challenge and threat we face from Iran would be made more pronounced and dangerous by an unconstrained nuclear program. So, put in another way, constraining Iran’s nuclear program by returning to the JCPOA will put us in a better position to address these other problems,” she said.
“It doesn’t mean that it will take care of the other issues that have been ongoing concerns we’ve had with Iran, they are a bad actor on the global stage. They have threatened our own military, as we all know, but we continue to believe that pursuing a diplomatic path forward, that pursuing an opportunity to make sure we have greater visibility, and into what their nuclear capabilities are is in our national interest.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has slammed the current administration as “crazy” for not walking away from the talks in the wake of the deadly drone strike.
“They have now killed a Brit, killed a Romanian, attacked a ship at sea… Launched rockets through their proxy Hamas into Israel from the Gaza Strip,” Pompeo told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Blinken said he didn’t believe the recent strike necessarily signaled anything about Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi.
In recent weeks, US troops in eastern Syria came under rocket fire after the Biden administration launched airstrikes targeting what it described as “facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups” on the border between Syria and Iraq.
Rocket and drone strikes targeting US forces in Iraq increased after the death of Iran Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in January 2020.
With Post wires