EghtesadOnline: Iran’s mission to the United Nations bluntly dismissed as untrue the US allegations over Thursday’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman after Washington blamed Tehran for the attacks.
“Iran categorically rejects the US unfounded claim with regard to June 13 oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms,” the mission said in a statement published by Iranian news agencies.
"Neither fabrications and disinformation campaigns nor shamelessly blaming others can change the realities. The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots as well as false flag operations in the region. Warning, once again, about all of the US coercion, intimidation and malign behavior, Iran expresses concern over suspicious incidents for the oil tankers."
Washington blamed Iran for the attacks on the oil tankers, which drove up oil prices and raised concerns about a new US-Iran confrontation, Financial Tribune reported.
It was not immediately clear what befell the Norwegian-owned Front Altair or the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which both experienced explosions, forcing crews to abandon the ships and leave them adrift in the waters.
One source said the blast on the Front Altair, which caught fire and sent a huge plume of smoke into the air, may have been caused by a magnetic mine. The firm that chartered the Kokuka Courageous tanker said it was hit by a suspected torpedo, but a person with knowledge of the matter said torpedoes were not used, Reuters reported.
Source of Insecurity
The Iranian mission’s statement also said, "The US economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as its massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the most significant threat to its peace and security."
It called on "the international community to live up to its responsibilities in preventing the reckless and dangerous policies and practices of the US and its regional allies in heightening tensions in the region."
The statement added that recent developments in the region "serve as proof of the urgency" of engaging in "dialogue based on mutual respect" between "all regional countries ... based on mutual respect, inclusivity and basic principles of international law".
“Reiterating its longstanding position on the need for promoting peace and security in the broader Persian Gulf region, the Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to play an active and constructive role in ensuring the security of strategic maritime passage as well as promoting peace, stability and security in the region.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States has assessed, based on intelligence, the type of weapons used and the level of expertise needed, that Iran is responsible for the attacks on tankers.
He offered no concrete evidence to back up the assertion.
“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Sea of Oman,” Pompeo claimed.
“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar [alleged] Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo contended.
The US had also accused Iran or its allies of carrying out a May 12 attack on four tankers off the UAE coast as well as May 14 drone strikes on two Saudi oil-pumping stations. Tehran had rejected any involvement in those incidents.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif described the tanker explosions as "suspicious" and called for regional dialogue.
In a later Twitter post, Zarif described the US allegations against Iran as part of "sabotage diplomacy".
“That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the B Team [referring to hawkish officials in the US and among its regional allies] is moving to a Plan B: Sabotage diplomacy,” he said.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi also vehemently rejected the claims by Pompeo, describing the incidents as “worrying and alarming”.
“Apparently, accusing Iran in the suspicious and unfortunate incident involving the tankers is the most convenient and simplistic thing to do for Mr. Pompeo and other American statesmen,” Mousavi said.
“While Japan’s prime minister is meeting with the number one figure of the Islamic Republic of Iran to reduce tensions, which hidden hands seek to undermine these efforts in the region and who benefit from it?" he asked, referring to a meeting between the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran on the same day.
The spokesman emphasized that Iran was the first country that came to the rescue of the vessels in distress and saved their crew.
“The responsibility for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz rests with the Islamic Republic, and we have proven that we have been able to help the sailors of the crashed ships and rescue them as quickly as possible,” Mousavi said.
“The suspicious nature of incidents for oil tankers … is worrying and alarming,” he added.