US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Washington believes Iran is behind the attack on two Japanese tankers in Gulf of Oman. He believes Tehran wants to end “successful maximum pressure campaign” of Washington’s sanctions.
“This is only the latest in the series of attacks instigated by the Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American allies and interests. They should be understood in the context of four years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations,” Pompeo said.
Earlier on Thursday, two oil tankers, identified as Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, were rocked by explosions in the Gulf of Oman. There’s so far little information on what actually happened, but one of the vessels was reportedly hit by a torpedo. Iran said it had rescued 44 sailors from the distressed tankers and called the incident “suspicious.”
Pompeo didn’t provide any proof for his claims, but reminded reporters that back in April Iran threatened to interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
He listed a series of incidents in the Middle East, including the attack on tanker ships at port in the United Arab Emirates, that US has blamed on Iran. There has been no proof offered by the US that Tehran is behind the attacks, and Iran denies any involvement.
ompeo, however, claimed that Tehran was “lashing out” at Washington’s “successful maximum pressure campaign” which has consisted of several layers of sanctions.
No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians.
US ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen has been instructed to bring up “Iran’s attacks” in the UN Security Council session on Thursday afternoon.
In recent months, Washington has stepped up the pressure on the Islamic Republic to renegotiate the nuclear deal signed in 2015 between world powers, but unilaterally scrapped by the Trump administration last May. So far, Iran has indicated no willingness to do so, arguing the US must stick to the deal it signed in 2015.