Gulf of Oman attacks: Japanese company and USA provide new evidence
Gulf of Oman attacks: Japanese company and USA provide new evidence
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Footage released by the US military's Central Command
16 June, 2019, 07:29
"It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran was responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today", Secretary of State Mike Pompeosaid.
Iran's oil exports, its economic lifeblood, have dropped to about 400,000 bpd in May from 2.5 million bpd in April past year.
Speaking later Friday with Fox News, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about the video and Iran. "They saw it with their own eyes", he told reporters in Tokyo. But this has done little to assuage concerns that the two arch foes could stumble into a conflict.
But he emphasized the issue of building consensus.
The president of the Japanese company operating the Kokuka Courageous says he doesn't believe a mine or torpedo was used in the alleged attack. "We also need to broaden our support for this global situation", he told reporters.
Oil prices rose about 1% on Friday, reflecting the jitters. When asked about the remarks from Pompeo blaming Iran for the attack, Maja Kocijančič, a spokeswoman for the European Union, said Friday that the EU was still "gathering more information".
"The attack against the tankers in the Gulf of Oman is a worrying development and a risky escalation", the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted after yesterday's blasts.
Earlier on Friday, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko refused to comment on United States statements that Iran is involved in the attacks on the tankers.
But Iran dismissed Trump's overture, details of which were not made public.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei refused to receive message delivered by Abe from Trump, stressing that the USA president is not worthy of exchanging messages with.
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He accused it of seeking to "sabotage diplomacy" amid a visit to Iran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and "cover up its economic terrorism against Iran" in enforcing crippling unilateral sanctions. Tehran has denied all the charges. US officials accused Iran at the time of targeting the ships with magnetic mines.
The black-and-white USA video of the Iranians alongside the Japanese-owned tankerKokuka Courageous came after its crew abandoned ship after seeing the undetonated explosive on its hull, said Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command.
One source said the blast on the Front Altair may have been caused by a magnetic mine.
One of the tankers, Front Altair, sailed out of Ruwais in the UAE, and Kokuka out of the Saudi port of al-Jubail, according to shipping tracking data. It was being escorted by the US Navy, he said.
Last month Washington scrapped waivers that had allowed some countries to continue importing Iranian oil, effectively ordering all countries to blacklist Iran or face sanctions themselves.
Iran's crude exports fell to about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018, draining Tehran's main source of revenues and hurting an economy already weakened by years of isolation.
Iran then announced it was suspending some commitments under the nuclear deal.
Katada said the crew members also spotted an Iranian naval ship nearby, but did not specify whether that was before or after the attacks.
Following the incident, China's President Xi Jinping said Beijing would promote development of ties with Iran regardless of how the situation changes.
The U.S. Navy sent the USS Bainbridge, which picked up 21 sailors from the Kokuka Courageous, and they stayed overnight on the destroyer, returning to their vessel Friday to help in it being towed.
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We shall keep you updated. "Thanks for your patience". "We regret all inconvenience caused and thank you for understanding". There were reports of similar "potential disruptions" on the Vodafone network in Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy.
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