US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday he would be willing to travel to Iran, amid tensions with Tehran, but also called for allies to join an American-led naval task force in the Gulf.

His comments come as tensions between the US and Iran reach a high following a spate of attacks on shipping in Gulf waters.

Pompeo asked US allies to join a naval task force to protect commercial shipping in the Gulf from attacks.

“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,” he said, according Reuters.

Pompeo has said he asked France, Germany, South Korea, and Australia to contribute to the force, he said, as European forces announced they would set up their own naval task force.

Pompeo spoke with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe detailing by telephone, who so far would not commit to the plan according to one Japanese diplomat.

But he also told Bloomberg that he would be willing to travel to Iran.

“Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”

Since the US began re-imposing sanctions on Iran, tensions have mounted with drones shot down and tankers mysteriously attacked in sensitive Gulf waters.

At the height of the crisis, US President Donald Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic Republic downed an American drone.

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