Pompeo: 'I'd happily go' to Iran for talks if needed

Pompeo: 'I'd happily go' to Iran for talks if needed
© Kevin Dietsch for The Hill

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: More closures possible at US bases in Europe as coronavirus spreads | Pompeo says Afghan 'reduction in violence is working' | Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon Pompeo: Afghanistan 'reduction of violence is working' Pompeo accuses China and Iran of hiding coronavirus outbreak MORE said Thursday he would "happily" go to Tehran to initiate talks with Iran's leaders.

“If that’s the call, I’d happily go there," Pompeo said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”

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Pompeo also called on U.S. allies to participate in a naval effort to defend the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping lane frequently used by oil tankers in the region.

He stressed the importance of international cooperation for protecting oil tankers in the region following attacks on two tankers in recent weeks and the seizure of a British tanker by Iranian forces.

“Every country that has an interest in ensuring that those waterways are open and crude oil and other products can flow through the Strait of Hormuz needs to participate,” Pompeo said in a Fox News interview.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been heightened for weeks, with Iranian forces downing a U.S. drone and President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE reportedly ordering and then calling off a retaliatory strike on Iran.

On Monday, Iranian officials announced the imprisonment of more than a dozen citizens it claimed were CIA spies, sentencing some to death.