USA does not want to go to war: Pompeo

REUTERS  Mohamed al-Sayaghi  File

A view of the old quarter of Sanaa Yemen

Pompeo's comments come after speculation that the president would declare war with Iran after the US military released footage Monday that it claims shows Iran removing an unexploded mine from an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

The second vessel involved in the attack, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, caught fire and sent black smoke up into the air that was visible from space by satellites.

"The goal of my visit was to come down here and make sure that the State Department and the Department of Defense were deeply coordinated across a whole broad range of issues ... to make sure that when we present options, alternatives, policy recommendations to President Trump, we're doing so in a way that is coherent and consistent and leads the president to a fuller understanding of the challenges and opportunities connected to decisions that he makes", Pompeo said. They also discovered a magnet allegedly left over by the Iranian military after it recovered an unexploded mine from the ship's hull.

"But make no mistake: they are being driven by Tehran's decisions to resort to violence", McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

"Following clues in the American intelligence services, we recently found the new recruits Americans had hired and dismantled a new network", Iran's state news agency IRNA said, quoting an intelligence ministry official. "There are distinguishing features".

The Japanese company that owns the Kokuka Courageous had said its ship was damaged by two "flying objects", but NAVCENT dismissed this account.

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"The damage at the blast hole is consistent with a limpet mine attack", Kido said.

A member of the U.S. investigative team shows a magnet the U.S. Navy says came from a limpet mine that didn't explode on a Japanese-owned oil tanker at a 5th Fleet Navy base, near Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

Tensions between the US and Iran appear to have taken a turn for the worse after President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

European Union countries have so far failed to activate a financial vehicle created to help Iran circumvent US sanctions and benefit from the deal economically.

While the number is small, it represents an escalation of USA military might aimed at deterring Iran and calming allies anxious that transit through key shipping lanes could be in jeopardy.

Officials have also publicly rebuffed an offer from U.S. President Donald Trump for talks with the country's highest authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stating that Trump was not "worthy" of an exchange of messages. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the USA and Iran into an open conflict, some 40 years after Tehran's Islamic Revolution.

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The location of the mine above the ship's waterline indicated the intention was not to sink the vessel, he said.

Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There was no claim of responsibility, and no culpability assigned immediately for a rocket that hit an oil-drilling site in Iraq's southern Basra province early on Wednesday.

As Washington-Tehran tensions escalated, there have been concerns that Iraq could once again get caught in the middle between its two top allies.

American officials believe Iran may well be the driving force behind a series of other smaller-scale attacks in the Middle East in recent weeks, including on Saudi oil pipelines and US and allied bases in Iraq.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack near the southern Iraqi city of Basra - the fourth time in a week rockets have landed near US installations.

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