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Friday, August 23, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

(JNS) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed on Monday that the United States will keep the Strait of Hormuz open to maritime traffic amid increasing tensions with Iran, which has repeatedly rejected U.S. overtures to come to the negotiating table.

“We are gonna keep it open,” said Pompeo at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. “We are going to build up a maritime security plan. Countries from all across the world who have a vested interest in keeping those waterways open will participate.”

Since the United States withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions lifted under it alongside enacting new financial penalties against Iran, the regime’s activities in the Strait of Hormuz have included attacking oil tankers from numerous countries to shooting down a U.S. drone in June.

The United States has sought the help of other nations, including Germany, to protect the Strait of Hormuz. Officials in Oman have been in contact with “all
parties” to restore calm in the area, said Omani Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi on Sunday. “We have a responsibility when it comes to the Strait of Hormuz.”

The United States, Great Britain and other allies will meet on Wednesday in Bahrain to discuss forming a coalition, with the United Kingdom possibly in a leading position, to protect the Persian Gulf, reported Sky News.

Tehran has repeatedly rejected Washington’s offers, with no preconditions, to negotiate. The Islamic Republic apparently also rejected Pompeo’s offer to address Iranians themselves. “I recently offered to travel to Tehran and speak directly to the Iranian people. The regime hasn’t accepted my offer,” tweeted the secretary of state on Sunday.