Saudi crown prince lashes out at Iran over tanker attacks

Erika Holt
June 18, 2019

Without offering any evidence, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo nearly immediately blamed Tehran. "He said the evidence pointing to Iran being behind Thursday's attacks was "compelling".

The sources revealed that the deployment of additional Patriot air defence system, fighter jets and ships could contribute to the "deterrence and defence against Iran".

While calling US evidence "unmistakable" that Iran was to blame for alleged attacks on two oil tankers last week near the Strait of Hormuz, Pompeo was emphasizing global diplomacy over any possible new USA military response in appearances on Sunday news shows.

Hunt had issued a statement on Friday blaming Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the 13 June attacks, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible.

News of the discussions comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned he was considering military intervention in the beleaguered region.

Many analysts are anxious that unintended incidents and miscalculations between Washington and Tehran might ultimately trigger military conflicts.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said last week that grainy video offered as evidence by the United States was "not enough" to prove Iranian culpability - and the U.S. version of events was challenged by the owner of the Japanese company that owns one of the tankers damaged in the attack. The crew of the Kokuka Courageous saw a "flying object" before a second blast on board, the operator's head said Friday. And on Thursday, the day of the tanker attacks, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei refused to reply to a message from President Trump, which had reportedly been conveyed to him by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The other vessel was a Japanese-owned tanker carrying chemicals. Meanwhile, US sanctions have cut off opportunities for Iran to trade its excess uranium and heavy water overseas, putting Tehran on course to violate terms of the nuclear deal regardless.

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President Trump has said that he does not believe any Iranian effort to close the Strait of Hormuz would last long.

Iran has denied being involved in the attacks and accused America of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign against it.

Pompeo told another Sunday news talk show, CBS News' Face the Nation, that military intervention would be employed if necessary. "Obviously, what happened in there", said the chief of American diplomacy.

Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister, said there must a be a "swift and decisive" reponse to the threats against energy supplies caused by the attacks.

Iran has strenuously denied any involvement in any of the attacks.

There is widespread belief among experts that whichever actor was behind the Gulf of Oman attacks during Abe's visit, the intention was to derail any hope of the Japanese Prime Minister's visit resulting in any cooling of tensions between the United States and Iran.

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