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Iran threatens international navigation in the Gulf: US defense secretary

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper holds a media briefing at the Pentagon on August 28, 2019, in Arlington, Va. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
October 24, 2019

Iran targeted the Saudi facilities in Aramco in September, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Thursday, reiterating calls to deter the country’s threats.

Esper, who was speaking at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, referred to the drone attacks at several Aramco sites on Sept. 14, saying “Iran threatens international navigation in the Gulf.”

He added the US “does not seek war with Iran, but we are prepared to do so if necessary.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon chief also lashed out at Turkey for its military assault on Syrian Kurdish fighters across the border into Syria, days after the US withdrew its troops from the war-torn country.

Esper says Turkey’s unwarranted invasion into Syria jeopardizes security gains made in recent years as the US-led coalition and allied Syrian Kurdish forces battled the Daesh group.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the US is lifting sanctions on Turkey after the NATO ally agreed to permanently stop fighting Kurdish forces in Syria. Esper was in Iraq Wednesday to discuss the withdrawal and the Daesh threat with Iraqi leaders and his military commanders.


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