Saudi Arabia is increasing pressure on its rival Iran and calling for the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman to “act swiftly and decisively” to safeguard oil exports from the Gulf region. Energy Minister Khalid al Falih said that energy supply, market stability and consumer confidence are under threat. Riyadh has been pressing ever more vigorously for the international community to intervene to secure the vital oil business for the Kingdom.
Tensions in the region have increased significantly as the conflict between Iran and the United States and their Arab allies has intensified in recent months. Saudi Arabia is one of the government’s closest allies in Washington. The attack on the tankers on Thursday is the second incident within a few weeks. In mid-May, four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates had become targets for sabotage. Both attacks occurred near the Strait of Hormuz. About one third of the crude oil is shipped through the narrow waterway.
As for the recent attacks, there is still some confusion about what happened in the Gulf of Oman. Tehran denies the allegations of being behind the attack and accuses the United States of warmongering. Washington has broadcast a grainy video, which is not proof of Iranian perpetration. It is to show Revolutionary Guards on a speedboat, the short time after the attack remove an unexploded mine from the side of the tanker “Kokuka Courageous”. The president of the Japanese company, which owns the tanker, has denied an attack with mines or torpedoes and affirmed that the ship had been hit “far above the waterline” by a “flying object”. The second tanker, the “Front Altair”, was hauled out of Iranian waters at the weekend. On Saturday, the 23 members of the ship’s crew from Iran arrived in Dubai.