Sunday, 18 August, 2019

Pentagon Releases Photos Bolstering Charge That Iran Behind Tanker Attacks

Japan rejects US claim that Iran attacked oil tankers Pompeo Says US 'Will Guarantee' Passage through Strait of Hormuz
Patty Aguilar | 18 June, 2019, 06:50

"We can't unreservedly accept USA claims", the government source said. "We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence, which is our mission set".

The Japanese-owned tanker, abandoned by its crew, was being towed to a port in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, after a Dutch firm said it had been appointed to salvage the ships. While the causes of the incident remain unknown, the United States has claimed that Iran sabotaged the vessels.

A third of the world's seaborne oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel bordered to the north by Iran that links the Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.

Iran attempted to shoot down a USA drone arriving at the scene of two fuel tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, according to a Fox News report that cited a senior US official.

US Military Central Command's statement on the release of the images says: "Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine".

"The German foreign minister has seen a great deal more than just that video", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CBS's "Face the Nation".

The crown prince said the attacks "underscore the importance of our demand before the worldwide community to take a decisive stance against an expansionist regime that has supported terrorism and spread death and destruction over the past decades, not only in the region, but the whole world". Washington also blames Tehran for drone strikes on two oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia on May 14.

Mr Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News that US President Donald Trump wanted to do "everything he can" to avoid war.

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The United States has accused Iran of the tanker attacks, which occurred during a visit to Iran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was there to mediate between the two countries.

Isolated rocket attacks have occurred near US government facilities in past months and have usually been blamed by the Trump administration on Iran, which has denied any role.

The US is to send another 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to what it describes as "hostile behaviour' by Iranian forces".

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal a year ago.

He also defended the decision to make an emergency USA arms sale to Saudi Arabia, bypassing Congressional approval.

"These past 40 days demonstrate the malign activity that puts Saudis at risk", Pompeo said. "The United States wants to support our important defense partner in the region, and I think moving forward, these arms sales made enormous sense and we're going to continue to push forward with them".

NPR's David Welna reports that both Republicans and Democrats are trying to undo the sale.

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