Pompeo blasts Iran’s leaders for resorting to ‘violence and disinformation’

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iranian officials Saturday of resorting to “violence and disinformation” after the two nations differed on explanations for the downing of a U.S. spy drone and two oil tankers.

In a statement released Saturday evening, the secretary of state accused Iranian officials of spreading lies about an alleged message from the White House through the government of Oman urging Iran’s leaders to come to the negotiating table among other falsehoods.

“President Trump did not pass a message through Oman calling for talks with Iran. We have made our position abundantly clear. We are willing to engage when the time is right,” the statement read.

“Iran’s leaders know the truth is a dangerous thing. It is important to correct the record,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo went on in the statement to mock a “hand-drawn” map produced by Iranian officials to prove that a U.S. spy drone had crossed into Iranian territory, and said that the U.S. had proved “beyond any doubt that Iran shot down a U.S. unmanned aircraft in international airspace.”

The stern message from the State Department comes as the two nations have come perilously close to armed conflict, with the White House reportedly calling off a strike on Iran’s military as it was already underway Thursday night.

In a tweet Saturday evening sent around the same time as Pompeo’s statement, Trump appeared to indicate that a military strike against Iran was still on the table.

“I never called the strike against Iran “BACK,” as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!” Trump tweeted.

I never called the strike against Iran “BACK,” as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019