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AP: U.S. official says initial assessment shows Iran’s role in oil tanker attack

Fingers are pointing at Iran and Iran-backed proxies in the recent attack targeting four oil tankers off the UAE coast
Fingers are pointing at Iran and Iran-backed proxies in the recent attack targeting four oil tankers off the UAE coast

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

 

May 14, 2019 - The Associated Press is reporting a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity says initial assessments by an American military team shows Iran’s regime and/or Tehran-backed proxy forces used explosives to create holes in four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Each oil tanker has a hole about 1.5 to three meters wide at water or sub-water level. The American team has reached a conclusion that the holes were caused by explosives.

The UAE has asked for U.S. assistance in investigating this case of sabotage, according to AP. [Persian] Gulf officials are describing this development as a sabotage attack.

The U.S. has warned ships that Iran or its proxy forces could target shipping lines in this area and Washington has dispatched bombers, warplanes, and warships to the region.

CBS is also citing U.S. investigators placing the blame for this attack on the Iranian regime or Tehran-backed proxy groups. Four ships belonging to U.S. allies were targeted off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

AP has also reported that U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned Iran that any measures resembling an attack will receive a strong response. When asked about the sabotage attacks, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything it will be a very bad mistake. I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens… We'll see what happens. It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens. They're not going to be happy... They know what I mean."

It is worth noting that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), known to fund, arm and train proxy forces across the region, has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO).

 

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The Gulf Cooperation Council condemned the sabotage operations carried out against four commercial ships near United Arab Emirates’ waters.

GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani issued a statement saying this issue is escalating tensions and clashes in the region and threatening people’s interests.

Bahrain is also strongly condemning the sabotage operations against the four ships in the UAE’s Port

Fujairah, describing the measure as a terrorist attack threatening local maritime safety and security. Bahrain supports all measures adopted by the UAE to maintain its security and interests, and fully stands alongside this nation, the statement adds. The international community must live up to its responsibilities in regards to preserving maritime safety and security and confronting any threats endangering international peace and security.

The sabotage attacks against UAE ships took place hours after Iranian and Lebanese outlets were posting fake news reports of explosions near the UAE port, according to the Associated Press.

The UAE Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday indicating four commercial ships near the waters of this country were the targets of sabotage operations. This incident left no casualties.

Sabotage against commercial ships and the threat of employees’ lives being lost is considered a dangerous development, according to the UAE Foreign Ministry statement. The UAE has not provided more details of this incident and is emphasizing investigations with the cooperation of international authorities are ongoing in this regard.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday indicating two of its oil tankers were also damaged in Sunday’s attack.

On Sunday morning, Fujairah officials were denying reports of explosions in the local port. Media outlets associated with the mullahs’ regime in Iran were citing the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen media outlet reporting news of explosions targeting seven oil tankers in Port Fujairah.

The UAE Foreign Ministry issued a statement declaring the international community must rise to its responsibility of preventing efforts seeking to damage shipping lines. The UAE government emphasized the sabotage attack threatens global peace and security.

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