After tanker attacks, Iran claims U.S. and Israel plotting to 'sabotage diplomacy'

Two oil tankers damaged in Gulf 'attacks' | News

An Iranian navy boat tries to stop the fire of an oil tanker after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019.

Following the blast, the U.S. said it has proofs that Iran was behind the attacks while Reuters recently quoted anonymous official mentioning that the video clip clearly shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) approaching the vessel and removing the mine. Tehran denied involvement, accusing the U.S. of waging an "Iranophobic campaign".

Mr Pompeo said on Twitter: "These attacks are a threat to global peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran".

Stay here for The National's rolling coverage of the latest developments following the attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman including regional and global reaction.

The United States has called for the UN Security Council to confront a "clear threat" posed by Tehran, after Washington said Iran was behind an attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

The kingdom, the world's top oil exporter, ratcheted up tensions with Iran after the attacks off Fujairah, which were followed by a drone strike on a key Saudi oil pipeline claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

The reported attacks in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran left one ship ablaze and both adrift, forcing scores of crew to abandon the ships.

"From my perspective. we can connect it to the Houthi attacks at Bab al-Mandeb", Colonel Turki al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh.

Frontline, the firm that operates the Front Altair, told The Associated Press that an explosion was the cause of the fire.

An unexploded device, believed to be a limpet mine, was spotted on the side of the Japanese tanker, a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The motor vessel Hyundai Dubai complied with the request and transferred the crew of the Altair to the Iranian (vessels)", Capt Urban said. "Our policy remains economic and diplomatic effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table at the right time to encourage a comprehensive deal that addresses the broad range of threats - threats today apparent for all of the world to see".

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"The supreme leader's government then insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese-owned oil tanker just outside Iranian waters, threatening the lives of the entire crew, creating a maritime emergency", Pompeo added.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks, calling them an "insult" to Japan and Abe because one of the ships is Japanese. The crews of the Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned Front Altair were evacuated to Iran.

The latest incident comes amid weeks of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

There were no immediate statements apportioning blame after Thursday's incidents.

"We have no doubt about your good will and seriousness, but. I don't regard Trump as deserving any exchange of messages", Khamenei reportedly told Abe.

Khamenei said a recent promise by Trump not to seek regime change in Iran was "a lie".

US allies in Europe and Asia have repeatedly expressed concern that tension between the United States and Iran could escalate into an armed conflict.

By publicly blaming Iran, the administration may hope to get Tehran to stop such attacks, said USA foreign policy veteran Dennis Ross, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His remarks were apparently meant to downplay and lower expectations amid uncertain prospects for Abe's mission.

Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that the Trump administration repudiated past year.

The war of words between Iran and the United States has spiked in recent weeks, with Trump posting strongly-worded tweets in response to perceived threats from Tehran. Iran has always maintained its nuclear program is peaceful.

In withdrawing from the deal past year, Trump pointed to the accord not limiting Iran's ballistic missile program and not addressing what American officials describe as Tehran's malign influence across the wider Middle East.

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