America blames Iran for the alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. “It is the US government’s assessment that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a brief press conference in Washington on Thursday. This assessment is based on intelligence information, on the weapons used and on similar attacks in the recent past.
Pompeo wrote on Twitter that the attacks were a threat to international peace and security and an “unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran.” In the afternoon (local time), the UN Security Council in New York wanted to deal with the incident. Several diplomats confirmed that the United States has requested the talks behind closed doors.
Previously, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned of a “major confrontation”. “I note the incident in the Strait of Hormuz with great concern. I strongly condemn every attack on civilian ships, “Guterres told the UN Security Council. It must be determined who was responsible for the deeds. “And if there’s something the world can not afford, it’s a big confrontation in the Gulf region.”
Against the backdrop of mounting tensions, US President Donald Trump sees no chance for new negotiations with Iran. He appreciated the recent mediation efforts of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran, Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. He personally thinks “that it’s too early to even think about making a deal.” Neither Iran nor the United States are currently ready for a deal.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry had expressed concern about the alleged attacks and talked about “dubious” incidents. Especially the timing is very suspicious, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. He referred to the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister on Thursday, which should contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis in the Persian Gulf.
Heavy Gulf tanker incidents have further increased tensions between Iran and its Arab arch rivals. What exactly happened on Thursday on the Gulf of Oman, remained unclear at first. At dawn, the US Navy, stationed in the Kingdom of Bahrain, made two emergency calls. A fire broke out on the oil tanker “Front Altair” of a Norwegian shipping company. The shipping company speaks of an explosion, but does not want to confirm an attack that the Norwegian Maritime Office had spoken of. Images of the Iranian agency Isna show flames and a thick column of smoke.
The Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo also explains that their tanker “Kokuka Courageous” is involved in the incidents. The ship managed by the German shipping company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) was damaged. However, all 21 sailors are saved, the cargo is intact and the freighter threatens not to sink.