UPDATE 2 - US Focused On Building International Consensus After Mideast Attacks - Shanahan
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 15th June, 2019) The United States is focused on building international consensus after a series of attacks that have occurred in the middle East, US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Friday.
On Thursday, two oil tankers were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. The Trump administration immediately blamed Iran for the attacks and deployed a destroyer to the region. Tehran has strongly refuted Washington's accusations.
"We have an international situation there in the Middle East... The focus for myself and Ambassador [John] Bolton and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo is to build international consensus to this international problem," Shanahan said.
Shanahan added that part of building the international consensus includes sharing intelligence and providing US Central Command with the resources and support they need to conduct their missions.
In later remarks, Shanahan said the United States is preparing various contingency plans in case the situation worsens.
He also said there is no time-frame as to when the United States will share evidence to substantiate the claim that Iran is behind the tanker attacks, but noted that once information is declassified it will be shared with the public.
Iran has denied any involvement in all of the recent attacks, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif called the timing of the latest incident "beyond suspicious" because it coincided with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Islamic Republic. In a tweet on Thursday, Zarif accused White House, Israeli, Saudi, UAE, and Japanese officials of engaging in sabotage diplomacy.