Oil tanker attack: Tensions between US and Iran heightens

Oil tanker attack: Tensions between US and Iran heightens

Written by Staff Writer

15 Jun, 2019 | 8:10 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): Tensions between Tehran and Washington have heightened while Asian leaders are gathered in a summit in Tajikistan.

US President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, despite Tehran denying any involvement. The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous with 23 crew members aboard and Norway’s Front Altair with 23 people exploded on the 13th of this month.

The Japanese owner of one of the oil tankers attacked near Iran on Thursday said the vessel was struck by a projectile and not by a mine. Kokuka Courageous loaded with a cargo of methanol in Saudi Arabia and was en route to Singapore. Front Altair, chartered by Taiwan’s state-owned CPC Corp, was scheduled to carry a cargo of Naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, from the Persian Gulf to Japan. 44 crew members were rescued following the blasts and the cause is yet to be ascertained.

US President Donald Trump told Fox News “Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” He was referring to a video released by the US military, which said it showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were behind the blasts that struck the two oil tankers.

However, addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said U.S. actions threaten the Middle Eastern stability. The President said that the US government has acted against all international laws and structures in the last years by taking advantage of the economic, financial and military capacity and by adopting an aggressive policy. Rouhani further said that these actions have posed a serious threat to regional and international stability.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.” During a meeting with the Russian President at the SCO summit, the Iranian President said the Middle East situation requires closer ties between Iran and Russia.

Speaking to foreign media, the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also commented on the matter. He said that they will carry out their own independent assessment with the mechanisms they possess. Hunt further said that they have absolutely no reason not to believe the American assessment either since they are the UK’s closest ally.

A 4.5% surge in oil prices earlier has eased slightly with the price of Brent crude futures currently up around 2%.

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