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Britain Backs US Assessment Accusing Iran of Attacks on Oil Tankers

LONDON – Britain currently supports in its assessment that Iran is responsible for the alleged attacks of two oilmen in the Gulf of Oman, the Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said, ITV reported Friday.
Jeremy Hunt warned Tehran that if the incident was proven to be the cause of this incident, it would be a “deeply reckless escalation that poses a real danger to the prospects for peace and stability in the region.”
Oil prices skyrocketed on Thursday, amid concerns of a disruption of one of the world’s largest tanker routes due to escalation in the region.
In the early hours of Friday morning, the US military released a video that would show that an unexploded paw was removed from Kokuka Courageous, one of the oil tankers attacked in the Gulf.
The black and white images captured by an American plane show a boat, considered a patrolman of the Revolutionary Guards, approaching the tanker.
Iran has rejected US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s accusations that he will be responsible for the information and expertise needed to carry out the operation.
Hunt told the BBC: “This is extremely disturbing and comes at a time when the tension is already huge. I have been in contact with Pompeo and, although we make our own assessment soberly and cautiously, our starting point is obviously to believe the allies of the United States.
We take this extremely seriously and my message to Iran is that, if they participated, it is a deeply reckless escalation that poses a real danger to the prospects for peace and stability in the region. Downing Street described the alleged attacks as “completely unacceptable”.
Pompeo said on Twitter, these attacks pose a threat to international peace and security, a flagrant breach of freedom of navigation and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran.
However, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded by writing on Twitter that the US had immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without any factual or circumstantial evidence.
British British naval forces, led by the British navy, issued an alert on Thursday morning after reports of explosions.
In a commentary accompanying the video, US Central Command (Centcom) said the US naval forces in the region had received two separate distress calls on Thursday morning local time.
One at 6:12 am was from the Altair Front, loaded with flammable naphtha from the United Arab Emirates, and another from Kokuka Courageous, at 7am, carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The two vessels were in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman about 10 nautical miles apart at the time of the distress calls, Centcom said.
The USS Bainbridge, a guided missile destroyer, was about 40 nautical miles away and began approaching the area “immediately”.
At 08:09, an American aircraft saw a Hendijan class patrol boat from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and a “multiple fast attack / rapid onshore attack” approach in the immediate vicinity. Centcom said.
A little over an hour later, the plane saw one of the IRGC boats fire a raft from the Altair, he added.
According to Centcom, the IRGC also ordered a boat that had saved some of the sailors from returning them.
At the same time, Centcom said that the crew of Kokuka Courageous “abandoned their ship after discovering a probable unexploded mine on their hull after a first explosion.”
The crew was then embarked on the Bainbridge after being rescued by a Dutch tug.
“At 4:10 pm local time, an IRGC Gashti patrol boat approached Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous rump,” said Centcom.
The alleged attacks occur after four merchant ships were “subjected to sabotage” in the Persian Gulf in May.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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