US blames Iran for attacks on 2 tankers near Persian Gulf

A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from Norwegian owned Front Altair tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States government blames Iran for attacks on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, casting it as the latest in a series of “provocative actions” that have sharply raised tensions in the region.

A U.S. assessment of Iran’s responsibility, which forced the evacuation of the crews in international waters, was based in part on intelligence as well as the expertise needed to carry out the operation, Pompeo told reporters in Washington.

It was also based on a recent series of incidents in the region that the U.S. also blames on Iran, including a similar attack on tankers in the area in May and the bombing of an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed fighters, he said.

“Taken as a whole these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Pompeo said.

The U.S. planned to raise the attacks at the U.N. Security Council later Thursday. Pompeo also said the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the Middle East but gave no details on any immediate plans.

Pompeo did not take questions after giving the brief statement.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have been growing since President Donald Trump last year withdrew from an international agreement aimed at restricting Iran’s nuclear program and re-instated economic sanctions that have had a devastating effect on the Iranian economy.

In May, the U.S. rushed an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the Persian Gulf region in response to what it said were threats from Iran.

Pompeo on Thursday said Iran had attempted the covert deployment of small boats capable of launching missiles, in an apparent description of the threat that prompted the deployment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

2 comments

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.