Pompeo blames Iran for two oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman
Updated: 2019-06-14 16:23:14 KST
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the latest attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman owned by Japan and Norway further raising tensions in the Middle East.
This is the latest attack in the region following blasts on four oil tankers last month, affecting prices of crude as a third of all global oil traded by sea passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf near the Gulf of Oman.
"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."
The incident has put a dent to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's mediating efforts to ease tensions between Tehran and Tokyo's key ally Washington as the attacks occurred on a Japanese tanker during the premier's two-day visit to Iran.
Tehran has "categorically rejected" any involvement in the incident.
Iran's deputy permanent representative to the UN told Japanese NHK broadcaster on Friday that it was Washington that was behind the attacks reiterating its foreign minister's claim that the U.S. had not provided any evidence to such "unfounded" claims.
Right after the attacks late on Thursday, Iran's UN Mission released a statement calling for an urgent dialogue among all countries surrounding the Persian Gulf to ease tensions and called on the international community to prevent "the reckless and dangerous policies and practices of the U.S. and its regional allies in heightening tensions in the region."
Prices of Brent crude oil, the international standard, jumped four-percent from the previous session to over 62-U.S. dollars a barrel on Thursday.
For now, the Korean government sees impact on local prices of gas and oil to be limited but the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy says it may become a severe problem if oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz are completely blocked.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.