Oil tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman, U.S. blames Iran
Updated: 2019-06-14 09:43:31 KST
The attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday occurred only about a month after four tankers in the same region were attacked in a similar manner.
The latest tankers to be attacked were owned by Japan and Norway and were heading to Singapore and Taiwan respectively.
It's not clearly known who was responsible, but the U.S. is blaming Iran, saying its assessment is 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.
The U.S. has deployed a second warship, the USS Mason, to the Gulf of Oman following the attacks to provide assistance.
The latest development is likely to worsen already high tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
But the U.S. insists that engaging in a new Middle East conflict is not its national interestbut it stands ready to defend U.S. interests, including the freedom of navigation.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the 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 soothe 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 Seoul will do what it can to help resolve the issue.
Lee Min-sun, Arirang News.