Beijing - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that America and its Gulf Arab allies want to show Iran that its actions have "a real high cost," stepping up his warnings after Tehran threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies.
Pompeo's comments came during a short trip to the United Arab Emirates, a staunch U.S. ally that hosts some 5,000 American forces at a crucial air base and the U.S. Navy's busiest foreign port of call.
He stopped short of offering any specifics during an interview with Sky News Arabia, an Arab satellite news channel half owned by an Abu Dhabi ruling family member.
However, his message undoubtedly reached receptive ears. The UAE long has been suspicious of Iran and its nuclear deal with world powers, from which President Donald Trump recently pulled out.
"The one that we are most focused on today is ... that we deny Iran the financial capacity to continue this bad behavior," Pompeo said. "So it's a broad range, a series of sanctions aimed not at the Iranian people, but rather aimed at the single mission of convincing the Iranian regime that its malign behavior is unacceptable and has a real high cost for them."
Pompeo met Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan while on his short trip to the UAE. He also stopped by the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Pompeo, who earlier visited Afghanistan, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam on his trip, left the UAE heading for a NATO summit in Brussels that Trump will attend.