Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the U.S. was seeking to avoid a military conflict with Iran, adding that President Donald Trump wanted a “diplomatic solution” with the country.
“Our mission set is to avoid war. That’s the task in front of us,” he said on Fox News. “That’s what we’ve been aiming for for a little over two years now, with the strongest sanctions that have ever been put in place against this revolutionary regime.”
Pompeo added that the world is aware who the bad actor is here, saying that Iran was “the evil force in the” Middle East destabilizing the region.
The United States has accused Iran of carrying out the September 14 airstrikes on the world’s largest oil processing plant, disrupting global oil production and causing a sharp oil surge, Politico writes.
Tehran has denied any accountability for the attack, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying that the U.S. sending troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia was “posturing.”
Pompeo pushed back against such comments saying no one listens to Zarif because “he lies all the time.”
“He has nothing to do with Iranian foreign policy,” Pompeo said.
The secretary of state will attend high-level meetings at the United Nations this week where Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will unveil a peace plan for the Middle East.
“We do want a peaceful resolution to this. That is our objective,” Pompeo stressed in a separate interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “But make no mistake about it, if we are unsuccessful in that, and Iran continues to strike out in this way, I am confident that President Donald Trump will make the decisions necessary to achieve our objectives.”
He noted later on in the interview that Iran has been a terror nation for four decades, but the United States, he added, was well on its way “to forcing the Iranian regime to ultimately make the decision to become a normal nation.”
Pompeo went on to say that he hoped the United Nations would take a strong position on the issue, stressing that “it was designed exactly for this kind of thing, where one country attacks another country.”