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Pompeo says Iran attacked oil tankers to raise global oil price

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives to hold a classified briefing on Iran, with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, for members of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, saying it was an effort by Tehran to raise the global price of oil.

“These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world,” Pompeo told reporters shortly before leaving on a trip to Europe.

He suggested he had seen evidence of Iran’s involvement cited earlier on Thursday by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Speaking in London, Bolton said evidence that Iran was behind the attacks would be presented to the United Nations Security Council next week.

Asked if he had seen the evidence, Pompeo said: “Oh yes. Ambassador Bolton got it right.”

Arab leaders are meeting in the Saudi city of Mecca to discuss drone strikes on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.

Tehran has denied involvement.

U.S. envoy to Iran Brian Hook on Thursday warned that the United States will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and James Dalgleish