Iran responsible for attack on two tankers on Gulf of Oman: Pompeo
Updated: 2019-06-14 07:17:18 KST
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran on Thursday for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier in the day, saying Washington's assessment was based on intelligence and the weapons used in the attacks.
"It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar 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's remarks came just hours after the tankers were attacked, and a month after four other ships in the region were struck in a similar method.
At that time, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton pointed the finger at Tehran, but offered no evidence.
However on Thursday, Pompeo listed a number of accusations against Iran, calling it a "campaign of escalating tension".
On May 12th, Iran attacked four commercial ships near the Strait of Hormuz. On May 14th, Iran-backed surrogates attacked by armed drones struck two strategically important oil pipelines in the Saudi Arabia. On May 19th, a rocket landed near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. On May 31st, a car bomb in Afghanistan wounded four U.S. service members, killed four Afghan civilians and wounded bystanders. Yesterday, Iranian surrogates fired a missile into Saudi Arabia striking the arrivals terminal of an international airport, injuring 26 people. Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran."
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the latest attacks suspicious, noting that one of the tankers is Japanese-owned, and that the attack took place as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Iran in an effort to calm tensions between Washington and Tehran.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was in Norway on Thursday, condemned the attacks.
Twenty-three crew members on the Front Altair, a Norwegian-owned tanker that was attacked, were rescued by a South Korean cargo ship that was in the area at the time.
President Moon added South Korea will do its utmost to help resolve the issue.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.