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Another US warship in Mideast amid Iran tensions

Another US warship in Mideast amid Iran tensions”

Iran alleges that the drone violated its airspace, which the US denies.

Tensions in the region have risen dramatically after Iran reportedly shot down a US surveillance drone last week.

Pompeo, meeting with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, said he was hoping that more than 20 countries including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia would work together on building maritime security.

USA officials travelling with Pompeo cast the drone as a defensive push against Iran, which has in the past threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint to the Gulf through which 20 percent of the world's oil flows.

On Monday, Mr Hunt repeated his concern about the situation, warning of the danger of "an accidental war" and saying the United Kingdom was in close touch with the US. The regional stops, made on his way to India, may be aimed at reassuring Washington's Sunni Gulf Arab allies that the White House remains committed to maintaining pressure on Shiite Iran following Trump's last-minute about face, which likely raised questions about US willingness to use force against the Islamic Republic.

Trump "is 100% right that the U.S. military has no business in the Persian Gulf".

He was later due to hold talks in the United Arab Emirates, US officials said.

The crisis gripping the Middle East stems from Trump's withdrawal of the US a year ago from the nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers and then imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran.

Pompeo flew to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to meet their leaders days after Iran shot down a USA spy drone, prompting President Donald Trump to order and then cancel a retaliatory strike.

He said the Trump administration should de-escalate tensions by stopping "its military adventurism" in the region, withdrawing its "naval armada" and moving away from "economic warfare against the Iranian people". The aim of the coalition will be to deny Iran "the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapon system, to build out their missile program", Pompeo elaborated.

The acting US ambassador to the United Nations is urging the world to join the United States in saying Iran's attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and its downing of a USA drone in worldwide airspace are "unacceptable".

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The attack demonstrates the extent of Iran's influences on the Houthi militias and proves their lack of commitment to achieving peace, it added according to the Yemen news agency (SABA).

Secretary Pompeo said in a tweet.

Riyadh has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Huthis, who have launched cross-border attacks on facilities inside Saudi Arabia.

The Security Council issued a statement condemning the latest attacks on oil tankers and urging all parties "to exercise maximum restraint and take measures and actions to reduce escalation and tension".

Human Rights Watch denounced the strike as an apparent "war crime", urging the Huthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

It called on the worldwide community and United Nations Security Council to condemn the attack and assume their responsibilities in ensuring that the Houthis implement global resolutions that will help end the coup in Yemen and restore the authority of the state.

Earlier, Pompeo vowed to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until Tehran chooses diplomacy over "violence", hinting that the Islamic republic "knows how to reach us".

Pompeo met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea city of Jeddah days after the downing of the surveillance drone prompted US President Donald Trump to order a military strike before calling it off at the last minute. In response, Trump ordered, then canceled a strike meant to hit a set of radar and missile battery sites in Iran after he was informed that up to 150 people could be killed by the strike.

And an Iranian navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi warned that the "firm response" of shooting down the USA drone could be repeated, and "the enemy knows it".

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the US has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there.

One of the Iranian president's top advisers indicated Iran was open to a new deal with the U.S. but said concessions beyond the 2015 nuclear deal would have to be met by the Americans. Tensions spiked last week after Iran downed an unmanned US military aircraft.



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