FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS
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 defense," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.
Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Pompeo added that he was confident U.S. President Donald Trump would take action if such deterrence measures fail and that this was well understood by the Iranian leadership.
"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 defense," 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 was blamed on Tehran by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
U.S. has slapped more sanctions on Iran, penalising the Iranian Central Bank while the Pentagon said it was sending U.S. troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom's oil facilities.
Pompeo said Washington was taking measures to deter Tehran, but he added that Trump would take necessary action if Tehran failed to change its behavior. "If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary," he added.