'The US is seeking to pull Australia into its escalating row with Tehran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting Canberra’s help to secure shipping routes against “unprovoked attacks” in the Strait of Hormuz.
Pompeo and Pentagon chief Mark Esper met with their Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, in Sydney on Sunday.
The US hopes Australia “will partner” with Washington and “confront the Islamic Republic of Iran’s unprovoked attacks on international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz,” Pompeo told reporters after the talks.
Minister Reynolds confirmed that the US is seeking Australian help in dealing with Tehran but “no decision has been made” so far.
The request the US has made is a serious and complex one, that’s why we’re giving this request serious consideration.
“We will ultimately as we always do, decide what’s in our sovereign interests,” Reynolds said.
The US has been trying to assemble an international naval mission to patrol the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf after several incidents, involving Iranian forces and foreign oil tankers, occurred in the waterways.'
Read more: Washington urges Australia to ‘be partner’ in confronting Iran in Gulf standoff