06/14/2019, 09.43
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Washington accuses Tehran of attacking ships in Gulf of Oman

US secretary of state claims Iran is "responsible for the attacks", in attempt to  "increase tension" and create "instability". A video of the US military would prove Pasdaran involvement. Zarif slams charges and speaks of "diplomatic sabotage". The owner of Kokuka Courageous reports "flying objects", excluding the US version of the mines.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The episode in the Gulf of Oman is the latest chapter in the ongoing tense standoff between Iran and the United States, with Tehran rejecting all charges of involvement and Washington ever closer to the military action against the Republic Islamic.

This morning, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that US allegations about attacks on oil tankers is part of the "diplomatic sabotage" of the 4B band. Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that "Iran is responsible for the attacks" and some US military had released a video proving Tehran's involvement.

Yesterday morning two oil tankers were evacuated to the waters of the Gulf of Oman and the crews were rescued by the Iranian navy and the Fifth US fleet stationed in the area, which responded to requests for relief.

The two ships  involved are the Norwegian Front Altair owned by the Frontiline company, with the flag of the Marshall Islands, which carried a cargo of ethanol from Qatar to Taiwan, and the Kokuka Courageous of the Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo, with the Panamanian flag.

The latter transported methanol from Singapore to Saudi Arabia and, during navigation, suffered a gash in the hull just above the waterline, perhaps centered by a torpedo. The first boat damaged by explosions, which according to some could be attributed to a magnetic mine.

Both commercial ships are "tied" to Japan and the incidents occurred precisely in conjunction with the diplomatic visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran (the first by a Japanese government leader in 40 years). The primary purpose of the trip is to mediate between Iran and the United States, in an attempt to prevent a military drift in the ongoing conflict - so far diplomatic and commercial - between the two fronts.

The escalation of tension is increasingly worrying international diplomacies. At the origin of the Rising tensions between Iran and the United States are monopolising the international agenda and remain a source of fear among major world capitals.

US-Iranian tension were triggered by US President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ​​agreed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which was followed by the toughest sanctions in history against Iran.

Since then, Washington has boosted its military presence in the region, whilst trying to curtail Iran’s oil exports.

Returning to the incident yesterday morning, US Secretary of State Pompeo pointed the finger bluntly against Tehran, speaking of "shameless attacks" that are part of a "campaign" by the Islamic Republic to "increase tensions and create greater instability ". He then announced an "economic and diplomatic" response, although Washington is also evaluating the military option.

The version of Iranian involvement would be endorsed by a video posted by the US Central Command in the Middle East in which some members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) would be seen (but here the use of the conditional is a must) removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers to hide all evidence of the attack.

Tehran's reply was immediate, accusing the United States of "Iranophobia". Russia is trying to dampen tensions and, through the words of Dmitri Peskov (spokesman for President Vladimir Putin), underlines that "no one has certain information" on the "causes" and for this reason "rash conclusions cannot be drawn".

Moreover, some eye witness accounts would support the Islamic Republic’s claims: among these, that of the Japanese Kokuka Courageous shipowner, who claims to have noticed "flying objects" before the explosion. Words that therefore seem to deny the use of mines or submarine missiles heralded by the United States.

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