The U.S. has video proof, CENTCOM says, that Iran was behind the explosions that rocked two tankers in the Gulf of Oman yesterday.
The Japanese tanker was attacked twice Thursday, damaging the vessel and forcing all 21 crew members to evacuate. The ship was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30m. The crew from Kokuka Courageous were picked up and handed to a US Navy ship on Thursday. In a notable signal that close USA allies are wary of Washington's position, Germany said the us video was not enough to apportion blame for Thursday's attack.
The 23 crew members on Front Altair were rescued by a nearby vessel then transferred to an Iranian navy boat and disembarked at a local Iranian port.
Frontline said its vessel was on fire but afloat, denying a report by the Iranian news agency IRNA that the vessel had sunk.
A military spokesman, Captain Bill Urban, said black-and-white video and also photographs show an Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat next to the Kokuka Courageous.
Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo Co., the Japanese company operating one of two oil tankers attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, shows a photo of the attacked oil tanker during a news conference Friday, June 14, 2019, in Tokyo.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the blasts.
Front Altair was headed to Taiwan, while Kokuka's destination was Singapore.
The Kokuka Courageous was also hit on the starboard side, according to its managers.
Pompeo called Thursday's tanker explosions "the latest in a series of attacks" he alleged were undertaken by Iran or its "proxies", including a Yemeni missile rebel missile which wounded 26 civilians at a Saudi airport on Wednesday. "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired", he wrote. "However, we will defend our interests". Company president Yutaka Katada offered no evidence for his claim, which contradicted the US military account. He called reports of a mine attack "false".
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway told the UN Security Council last week that there are "strong indications that last month's attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out with significant operational capacity".
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The European Union called for "maximum restraint" to avoid a regional escalation.
Pompeo said the attacks on the tankers were intended as an insist to the Japanese leader.
"We will not negotiate with the United States", the Leader told Abe on Thursday.
Two oil tankers were hit in attacks in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, a month after similar attacks on four tankers in the region.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Iranian mines were nearly certainly behind the May 12 attacks, but declined to provide evidence.
"Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat", President Donald Trump said during a phone interview on Fox and Friends Friday morning, referring to the video.
It has sent an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region.
In 2018, the USA pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015 that was aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear activities.
"Apparently for Mr. Pompeo and other American authorities accusing Iran is the easiest thing to do", said Mousavi, insisting Iran was upholding the burden of securing the key Strait of Hormuz.
Alireza Namvar Haghighi, the Iranian Political Science scholar at the University of Toronto, said that "all-in-all Abe's meetings (with the Iranian leaders) are considered positive, which keeps opening the possibility of diplomacy for a number of reasons".