Pompeo Stresses Diplomacy in Gulf Crisis


Already, the USA has blamed Iran for what it described as an attack with limpet mines on the two tankers, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous.

Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that President Donald Trump repudiated previous year.

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Similar to the recent attacks, four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were apparently targeted in acts of sabotage, which USA officials have blamed on Iran.

This June 13, 2019, image released by the US military's Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran.

But the leading official underscored President Trump said he does not want to go to war.

Changing tack again, the Saudis then admitted the journalist was murdered, charged 11 people but denied that the prince had been involved.

But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also blamed Iran for the attacks and said the kingdom "won't hesitate" to respond to any threats from its rival, according to the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Although Iran has denied being behind the explosions, experts believe it could be a response to U.S. sanctions meant to stop other nations from purchasing Iranian oil.

The US military released a video it claiming to show Iran removing an unexploded mine from one of the two ships, the Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous.

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The U.S and Iran continue to point accusing fingers at each other over last week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

"Our crew remain on board the Kokuka Courageous".

Associate political scientist Ariane Tabatabai at RAND Corporation told NPR's Scott Simon that if Iran is to blame, it could be retaliating against the USA measures.

Company officials had said Thursday that the vessel first had been hit toward the stern by what appeared to be an artillery shell, causing a fire in the engine room. "We don't want war", he added.

Oil prices have climbed 3.4 per cent since Thursday's attacks.

The research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute defence and security think-tank in London, who specialises in Iranian politics, said that more information needed to be delivered.

The suspected attacks follow similar incidents in which four other oil tankers were damaged off the nearby port city of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates in recent weeks.

But the UK's Opposition Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said in a tweet that Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf and "not fuel a military escalation that began with USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement".

Pompeo claimed that Iran had attacked the vessels, yet has not provided any substantial evidence to support its claims.

The 23 mariners on board the Front Altair were rescued shortly after Thursday's attack by the Hyundai Dubai, but Iranians aboard small boats quickly demanded the crew be turned over to their custody, a USA official said.