UK claims Iran ‘almost certainly’ behind tanker attacks

15th Jun 2019
UK claims Iran ‘almost certainly’ behind tanker attacks

By Muhammad Mussa

 

LONDON (AA): Iran is very likely responsible for the attacks this week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the British government claimed Friday.

Meanwhile, Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.

Using its own and American assessments, the UK government concluded that Tehran was “almost certainly” behind the attacks, said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which were reportedly carried out using explosive devices.

“I condemn yesterday’s attacks on two vessels in the Gulf of Oman,” Hunt said in a press statement. “These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilizing Iranian behavior and pose a serious danger to the region.”

“In targeting civilian shipping, international norms have been violated. It is essential that tankers and crews are able to pass through international waters safely,” said Hunt, urging Iran to cease any provocative and destabilizing actions.

However, owner of the Japanese tanker attacked contradicted UK and UK claims.

Yutaka Katada, President of Kokuka Sangyo, said at the press conference in Tokyo Friday said the Filipino crew of the Kokuka Courageous said their ship was hit by “flying objects” rather than a mine.

“The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something came flying towards them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel,” he told reporters. “Then some crew witnessed a second shot.” He added that a projectile landed above the waterline.

“To put a bomb on the side is not something we are thinking,” he said. “If it’s between an explosion and a penetrating bullet, I have a feeling it is a penetrating bullet. If it was an explosion, there would be damage in different places, but this is just an assumption or a guess.”

On Friday, dozens of crew members were rescued after the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair oil tankers burst into flames as they were passing through the Strait of Hormuz and entering the Gulf of Oman.

The Iranian mission to the UN rejected the U.S. claim that Iran was behind the attacks.

“Iran categorically rejects the U.S. unfounded claim” and “condemns it in the strongest possible terms” the Iranian government said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for the attacks, citing a video taken from U.S. Central Command that purports to show footage of a patrol boat with personnel docked near one of the oil tankers.

 

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map showing location of Gulf of Oman. /Creative Commons]

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