A USA government source said American security experts believe Iran gave its "blessing" to tanker attacks, which hit two Saudi crude oil tankers, a UAE-flagged fuel bunker barge and a Norwegian-registered oil products tanker off Fujeirah near the Strait of Hormuz.
"So far we notice the continued escalation of tensions around this subject", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, a day after Pompeo met with President Vladimir Putin.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments late Tuesday came after Yemen's Houthi rebels launched a coordinated drone attack on a critical oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia.
In this Friday, May 10, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, logistics specialists attach cargo to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.
In Wednesday's edition, the state-run IRAN newspaper carried his comments on the nuclear program, his first since Iran announced it would begin backing away from the accord itself.
"It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran", said one official.
Tehran is threatening to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the 3.67% permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers.
Kono said it was essential to maintain the nuclear agreement and urged Iran to keep implementing it, echoing other countries. "The next steps are easier than this step".
The source said the United States believes Iran's role was one of actively encouraging militants but indicated the United States does not now have evidence that Iranian personnel played any direct operational role.
Republicans - and even some Democrats - who have been briefed said the threats are legitimate.
The US has said that it is not seeking war with Iran, but it has not ruled it out. "The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq", the statement said. The sources were not authorized to discuss the matter and were granted anonymity. However, the officials characterized the threat as not more credible or imminent than it was in the week prior, as the USA moved military assets to the region and warned of Iranian-related threats.
That contradicts what British Maj.
USA officials have not publicly provided any evidence to back up claims of an increased Iranian threat.
Iran described the USA moves as "psychological warfare", and a British commander cast doubt on US military concerns about threats to its roughly 5,000 soldiers in Iraq, who have been helping Iraqi security forces fight Islamic State. In a written statement, Central Command said the coalition in Baghdad has increased the alert level for all service members in Iraq and Syria.
Also on Wednesday, Germany - which has 160 soldiers in Iraq - suspended military training operations, citing increasing regional tensions, while the Netherlands suspended a mission providing assistance to Iraqi local authorities, Dutch news agency ANP said. It says the three countries, working with worldwide partners, are investigating.