The United States has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. “It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press briefing Thursday (local time). “The assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”
The U.S. Central Command released, eight hours after the accident, a video that it claims shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine attached to the hull of the Japanese-owned Kokura Courageous. The U.S. military assessed that Iran was seeking to recover evidence of their involvement in the attack. “The boat made the move even after the destroyer USS Bainbridge, as well as a U.S. drone and P-8 aircraft, had been on the scene for four hours,” CNN reported.
Images have been also released showing the Kokura Courageous has what the U.S. military believes was an unexploded mine attached and damaged in the hull. The U.S. Central Command claimed it was an unexploded “limpet mine.”
Washington believes that a series of attacks near the Strait of Hormuz were instigated by Iran in an attempt to interrupt the flow of oil and push oil prices up. Oil prices rose 4 percent Thursday following the latest accident. On the day of the attack, the U.S. military has deployed USS Mason (DDG-87) to the scene, adding to military tensions. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we.”
In the meantime, Iran countered that it is the United States that is behind the attack. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that “That the U.S. immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran, without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence, only makes it abundantly clear that the B Team is moving to a Plan B: Sabotage diplomacy.”
Yong Park firstname.lastname@example.org · Jung-Min Dong email@example.com