USA warns United Nations of 'clear threat' from Iran after oil tanker attacks

Lloyd Doyle
June 14, 2019

The Japanese company that owns the "Kokuka Courageous" tanker has said its crew spotted "flying objects" before the attack in the Gulf of Oman, contradicting USA claims that the vessel was damaged by a naval mine. He provided no evidence, gave no specifics about any plans and took no questions.

It was being escorted by the U.S. Navy, he said.

The US also called Thursday for the UN Security Council to confront the "clear threat" posed by Iran, as the council met behind closed doors to hear a briefing on Washington's assessment that Tehran was responsible.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the facts should be established but warned against stoking conflict in the volatile Gulf.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it can not sell its oil because of USA sanctions. While many details of the incident are still shrouded in mystery, the U.S. was quick to blame Iran. Iran's oil exports have dropped to around 400,000 barrels per day in May from 2.5 million bpd in April a year ago.

The attacks, which came a month after a similar incident targeting four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, "demonstrate the clear threat that Iran poses to global peace and security", Mr Cohen said.

"Obviously, accusing Iran for such a suspicious and unfortunate incident is the simplest and the most convenient way for Pompeo and other USA officials".

"That the United States immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran-w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence-only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy-including by [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe]-and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran", Zarif wrote on Twitter.

The Kokuka Courageous is now sailing toward the port of Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates, with the crew having returned to the ship after evacuating because of the incident, Kokuka President Yutaka Katada told a press conference.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States that the world can not afford "a major confrontation in the Gulf region".

Kuwait's U.N. Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, president of the council for June, said after the meeting that all 15 council members had condemned 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, ' Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

At 8.09am, according to the statement, a USA aircraft observed an "Iran Revolutionary Guard Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack in the vicinity of Altair".

He accused it of seeking to "sabotage diplomacy" amid a visit to Iran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and "cover up its economic terrorism against Iran" in enforcing crippling unilateral sanctions.

World oil prices surged following reports of the suspected attacks, exacerbating tensions in the crude-rich Middle East, analysts said.

The US military said Washington and its partners "will take all necessary measures to defend ourselves and our interests". One ship reportedly was on fire, and the other suffered damage.

The tanker attack will not affect Japanese energy supply, Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said, although the ministry issued a warning to Japanese energy companies. The tanker is registered in Panama and was flying a Panamanian flag, he said.

And though details of what happened were still scarce, the incidents came amid heightened frictions between the United States and Iran.

In Washington, Pompeo said the United States aimed to bring Iran back into negotiations - "at the right time" - over its nuclear program and regional activities.

Pompeo speculated in his address this morning that Iran is "lashing out, because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted".

Front Altair's status was updated to "underway using engine" at 09:05 GMT on Thursday, according to marinetraffic.com.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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