Probe Finds 'State Actor' Led Attack on Tankers Off UAE

Erika Holt
June 10, 2019

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Norway committed to keeping Council members apprised of further findings from the ongoing investigation and requested that the Security Council be seized of the matter.

The initial findings showed that it was "highly likely" that four Limpet mines, which are magnetically attached to a ship's hull, were used in the attacks, placed by trained divers who were deployed from fast boats, according to the preliminary findings.

Mr Bolton's claim Iran is behind the mine attacks is based on a report by an American destroyer now in the area. He added that there is "enough evidence" that indicated Iranian responsibility and warned of future repercussions by stating that "if we tolerate a symbolic attack like opens the door for more".

Iran, the country suspected by both the United States and Saudi Arabia of being behind the attacks, was not named as responsible by the investigation. It's unclear if Bolton's assertion relied on any intelligence.

The attacks took place within UAE territorial waters, east of the port of Fujairah, an oil export terminal on the Sea of Oman. The strait is immensely important for oil transportation, with tankers carrying crude from the oil-rich Gulf countries must pass through it.

Bolton said in late May that the May 12 incident had been caused by Iranian naval mines, without providing any evidence to substantiate his claim.

A few days earlier in May, at the Pentagon, US Rear Admiral Michael Gilday accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of being directly responsible for the attacks.

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Russia's Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov was at the briefing on Thursday, which took place at the Mission of the United Arab Emirates, and said diplomats should not "jump to conclusions", echoing previous Russian officials, urging a de-escalation of tensions in the region.

In the weeks before the attacks, the Trump administration hardened its policy against Iran by fully reimposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports and designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

He adding that the United States will continue to act to "deny the regime the money it needs to destabilize the Middle East". For its part, Iran has accused the U.S. of aggressive behaviour.

McKenzie said Iran and its proxies posed what he called an "advanced and imminent" threat to United States forces when he asked on May 5 for authority to accelerate the deployment of an aircraft carrier and send four strategic bombers to the Gulf area.

Tensions increased last month when Washington ended exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying oil from Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested it might have been an attempt by Iran to raise oil prices, yet that clearly did not happen, and there would've been no reason to think that it would've.

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