Trump calls on foreign countries to protect their own oil tankers

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE on Monday appeared to argue that the U.S. does not need to protect commerce in foreign waterways like the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting he's not concerned about Iranian activity there as long as Tehran does not develop a nuclear weapon.

The president, who has long expressed opposition to America's role as the world's police, tweeted that China and Japan are among the countries that get most of its oil via shipping through "the Straight" and called on them to protect their own vessels.

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"So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey," Trump tweeted.

"We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!" Trump continued. "The U.S. request for Iran is very simple — No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!"

 

Trump's tweet came as Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoAs tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Trump's Huawei concession is 'the rope that could hang America' MORE met with leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss how to counteract Iran's actions in the region.

Pompeo tweeted that he had a "productive" meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia where they discussed "heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. Freedom of navigation is paramount."

 

The U.S. has blamed Iran for attacks last week on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, but Trump has downplayed the episode, calling it "very minor." 

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been rising since Trump pulled out of the Obama-era nuclear deal last year. The issue appeared to come to a head last week when Iran shot down a U.S. drone. The two sides have disputed whether it was flying in Iranian airspace.

The U.S. was prepared to launch a military strike in response, but Trump said he called it off after learning at the last minute that it would have killed approximately 150 Iranians.

The Trump administration is expected to announce additional sanctions on Iran on Monday.