Pompeo Says Iran Sabotaged Tankers to Raise Oil Prices

Bolton credits US military buildup for deterring Iran

Speaking on Thursday during a visit to London, John Bolton continued to play up the allegation of a major threat posed by Iran, claiming that the quick US military buildup in the region had deterred them for now, but that the threat is not over.

Despite trying to credit the US military for deterrence, Bolton also continued to accuse Iran, without any evidence, of recent sabotage attacks against oil tankers, which happened after the US started the buildup. Bolton’s only evidence for the claim was that he didn’t see who else would’ve done it. He further added that everyone he believes has any knowledge would agree with him.

Advancing this from an unverified accusation to something actionable takes help though. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked to continue that narrative, claiming Iran attacked the tankers to raise oil prices.

This is an important step in turning the claim from just Bolton’s usual nonsense to general consensus. In his comments, Pompeo no longer treated the allegation as something the US is just speculating happened, and instead focused on advancing a story for why it happened. This is meant to skip over if it happened, and convince people to just grant that part of the story.

Yet US officials, and Bolton in particular, have spent a generation creating enemies in the area around where the sabotage took place. Despite Bolton’s protestations, there are plenty of different groups who might have wanted to carry out such an attack.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.