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US Blames Iran for Attacks on 2 Tankers

US Blames Iran for Attacks on 2 Tankers

Thursday, 13 June, 2019 - 18:30
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Washington believes that Iran is responsible for attacks which damaged two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington that the “unprovoked” attacks on the ships are part of a "campaign" of "escalating tension" by Iran and a threat to international peace and security.

He said the United States will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.

According to Pompeo, the US has assessed, based on intelligence, type of weapons used and sophistication of assaults, that Iran is responsible for the attacks on the tankers.

He accused it of working to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it cannot sell its oil due to US sanctions.

Tensions have risen since Washington pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Pompeo said in his press conference that he instructed the US ambassador to the UN to raise Thursday's attacks before the Security Council.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting of the Council on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States: "Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified."

He warned that the world cannot afford "a major confrontation in the Gulf region".

"It's unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping and today's attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman raise very serious concerns," acting US Ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen told the meeting.

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