WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The United States blamed Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, and released a video which purportedly shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard on the scene of the incident.
But Iran categorically denied the allegation. Iranian vessels were on a rescue mission in the gulf Of Oman, according to a statement published by Iran's Foreign Ministry.
A Norwegian and a Japanese tankers carrying petroleum products were damaged in explosions early morning Thursday off the coast of Iran.
How it happened is still under investigation.
The incident had far-reaching consequences.
Oil prices jumped up to 4 percent, and US acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen presented a briefing to the UN Security Council to substantiate Washington's point.
The Gulf of Oman lies at one end of a vital oil shipping lane.
'It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a briefing at the headquarters of the State Department.
He said this assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
Pompeo said Iran is executing a warning it issued on April 22 that it would interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
'Prime Minister Abe made a trip, a historic trip to Iran, to ask the regime to de-escalate and enter into talks. Iran's supreme leader rejected Prime Minister Abe's diplomacy today by saying he has no response to President Trump and will not answer. The supreme leader's government then insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese oil tanker just outside of Iranian waters, threatening the lives of the entire crew, creating a maritime emergency,' he told reporters.
Pompeo vowed that the United States will defend its forces, interests, and stand with its partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability. He called upon all nations threatened by Iran's provocative acts to join the United States in that endeavor.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX