BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared data on “escalating” threats from Iran with European allies and NATO officials through meetings in Brussels on Monday, the U.S. particular representative for Iran stated.

FILE PHOTO – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks through the Arctic Council summit at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland May well 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool by means of REUTERS

“Iran is an escalating threat and this seemed like a timely take a look at on his way to Sochi,” Brian Hook told reporters, referring to Pompeo’s planned take a look at to Russia on Tuesday for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Pompeo canceled a take a look at to Moscow on Monday and stopped in Brussels as an alternative, en route to Sochi.

“The secretary wanted to share some specifics behind what we have been saying publicly,” Hook stated. “We think that Iran should really attempt talks as an alternative of threats. They have selected poorly by focusing on threats.”

Hook stated Pompeo, although in Brussels, also discussed reported attacks on various oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Asked if Pompeo was blaming Iran for the attacks, Hook stated: “We discussed … what seemed to be attacks on industrial vessels that have been anchored off Fujairah … we have been requested by the UAE to supply help in the investigation, which we are incredibly glad to do.”

Asked if he himself believed there was the possibility of an Iranian part, Hook had no comment.

The UAE stated on Sunday that 4 industrial vessels have been sabotaged close to Fujairah emirate, 1 of the world’s biggest bunkering hubs lying just outdoors the Strait of Hormuz. It did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.

Saudi Arabia stated Monday that two of its oil tankers have been amongst these attacked and described it as an try to undermine the safety of crude supplies amid tensions among the United States and Iran.

The UAE on Monday identified the vessels as incredibly massive crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah, each owned by Saudi shipping firm Bahri. The other two have been UAE-flagged fuel bunker barge A. Michel and Norwegian-registered oil solutions tanker MT Andrew Victory.

Reporting by Makini Brice and David Brunnstrom Editing by David Alexander and Jeffrey Benkoe

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