Pentagon releases new photos as proof Iran was behind tanker attacks

Tuesday, 18 Jun, 2019

The US military on Friday released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an "unexploded limpet mine" from one of the tankers. Washington also blames Tehran for drone strikes on two oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia on May 14.

Iran has rejected allegations, accusing the USA of pursuing an "Iranophobic" campaign against it.

Iran in the past has said it could block the strategic Strait of Hormuz as a countermeasure to any attack by the United States.

The prince also accused "Iran and its proxies" of attacks on May 12 on four tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) port of Fujairah.

He said USA and British intelligence needed to be compared to material from allies, adding that Germany was still in the process of collecting information and the evidence provided so far "comes from one side in particular".

Other topics on the agenda: European Union foreign policy chief Mogherini said Monday the bloc would not react to any Iranian breach of the deal unless the International Atomic Energy Agency reports one.

News of the attempted attack on the USA drone piles onto mounting tensions in the region.

US-Iranian tensions flared previous year after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and began reinstating sanctions on the Islamic republic.

"It's a very precarious situation", Bolton said, adding the threat of Iranian-backed attacks "very definitely" is continuing. Quoting two USA officials with direct knowledge of discussions, CNN reported that it is not clear when President Donald Trump will be briefed and when further decisions will be made.

Thursday's attacks on Norwegian and Japanese vessels was the second time in the past few weeks that tankers appear to have been targeted in the region and comes amid escalating tension between Iran and the United States.

From 1981 - 84 Iraq launched 43 attacks on ships before Iran also initiated its own attacks.

Pompeo, in a series of Sunday television interviews, emphasized the USA global outreach in the wake of what the U.S. says were Iranian attacks Thursday on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

"This is one way for the Iranians to showcase that, if they're going to be paying the costs of sanctions and political isolation, that they can actually begin to impose similar costs on the United States", she said. "We want to get them back at the table, if they want to go back", he said, referring to USA efforts to open bilateral negotiations on a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran has dismissed the accusation. "We actually have video evidence that shows what the Iranians have been doing".

On the Iranian side, although the Supreme Leader stated that Iran will not talk to Trump, he did not rule out future shuttle diplomacy involving Abe or other leaders/diplomats, suggesting that perhaps Tehran could indirectly talk to the White House through a third party.