HEADING TO WAR? American/Iran Tensions Heighten As Ship TORPEDOED

Sunday, 16 Jun, 2019

The Pentagon had tough words for Iran today as the U.S. continues to assert its claim that Tehran was responsible for the attack on the two oil tankers in global waters after releasing video footage its says shows an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels' hulls.

The United States blames Iran for Thursday's attacks against the Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

"We want to get them back to the table", Trump told Fox News in an interview.

Speaking to Fox News, he said Iran "did do it".

Iran denies involvement in the incidents, while its foreign minister Zarif said on Twitter that the U.S.

The United States has tightened sanctions on Iran since Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and global powers previous year.

"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 in a brief appearance at the State Department in Washington, DC. "But it is also possible that hardliners in Iran are seeking to damage the prospects of any renewed talks between Tehran and Washington to ease tensions", said Soltvedt. But this has done little to assuage concerns that the two arch foes could stumble into a conflict.

One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship's Japanese operator said on Friday, expressing doubt that a mine had been attached to its hull... It was hit by three explosions, according to Norwegian officials.

"Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement", Corbyn tweeted Friday.

Asked whether he was considering sending more troops or military capabilities to the Middle East, Mr Shanahan said: "As you know we're always planning various contingencies".

But he emphasized the issue of building consensus. The Islamic regime has previously threatened to counter sanctions on its oil exports by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic maritime passage through which one-fifth of the world's consumer oil flows. "We also need to broaden our (international) support for this worldwide situation", he added.

Oil prices jumped as much as 4 per cent after Thursday's incident. The Houthis said that attack was carried out using a cruise missile.

The U.S. called Thursday for the U.N. Security Council to confront the "clear threat" posed by Iran.

Iran dismissed Mr Trump's message, details of which were not made public. It said Trump thanked Abe "for his effort to facilitate communication with Iran".

They come just weeks after the "sabotage" of four tankers off Fujairah and a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. Tehran denied the charges.

The efforts come after the U.S. released grainy surveillance footage of an alleged Iran Revolutionary Guard patrol boat, with men who appear to place a magnetic limpet mine on the hull of one of the ships.

"The crew members claimed they were hit by a flying object", Katada, 71, said, emphasizing how the tanker was attacked as he showed a picture of the vessel.

An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, June 13, 2019.