Pompeo says 'there's no doubt' Iran attacked 2 tankers

US secretary of state accuses Iran of recent attacks on oil tankers and downing of an American drone

US secretary of state accuses Iran of recent attacks on oil tankers and downing of an American drone

News of the additional troop deployment comes as the State Department announced Monday that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will travel Tuesday to the command center that oversees Middle East military operations. "We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence, which is our mission set".

Others have expressed skepticism over the US' claims, including the Japanese company that owned the tanker, saying they don't believe a mine or torpedo was used because the ship was hit above the waterline.

Pompeo claimed that Iran had attacked the vessels, yet has not provided any substantial evidence to support its claims.

The Tanker War began in 1981 but erupted into all-out conflict three years later when Saddam Hussein's forces attacked Iranian oil tankers and Iran responded by targeting Kuwaiti tankers carrying Iraqi oil. That has deprived Iran of oil income and has coincided with what US officials said was a surge in intelligence pointing to Iranian preparations for attacks against USA forces and interests in the Gulf region.

The U.S. Central Command spokesman released a video purporting to show a patrol boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approaching one of the tankers where it "was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous".

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region", Mr Shanahan said in a statement. "The world will come to see much of it", said Pompeo, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming secretary of state.

Saudi Arabia has joined the United States in blaming Tehran.

The US military has also accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of trying but failing to shoot down a US drone to disrupt surveillance of the tankers during the attacks.

After the attacks on six tankers in the UAE and the Gulf Oman in the past five weeks, Mr Bolton said the USA was "very concerned about the dangers of the Quds Force and Iranian intelligence operatives".

Tehran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, earlier said the USA "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence".

Pompeo on Sunday said, "we don't want war", but he also said the USA would guarantee freedom of navigation on the Strait of Hormuz, a major thoroughfare for the global oil trade.

Tensions between Iran and the US, along with its allies including Saudi Arabia, have risen since US President Donald Trump withdrew from an global agreement aimed at restricting Tehran's nuclear programme past year.

"These past 40 days demonstrate the malign activity that puts Saudis at risk", Pompeo said.

He said the USA will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.

"I'm usually on the other side of this issue", said Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.