USA releases video it says shows Iran's military recovering mine

Two oil tankers damaged in Gulf 'attacks' | News

Two oil tankers damaged in Gulf 'attacks' | News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday noted that the United States made allegations against Iran in relation to the recent attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Oman without presenting any evidence to substantiate its claims.

The Japanese operator ship operator of one of two oil tankers attacked near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday said that sailors on board its vessel, the Kokuka Courageous, saw "flying objects" just before the attack, suggesting the tanker wasn't damaged by mines.

"Taken as a whole these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to global peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran", Pompeo said.

One shipping broker said there had been an explosion "suspected from an outside attack" that may have involved a magnetic mine on the Kokuka.

On May 12, four oil tankers - two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati - were damaged in still unexplained attacks off the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

"That the USA immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran-w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence-only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy-including by [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe]-and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran", Zarif wrote on Twitter.

"It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks", Pompeo said. Prices later settled about 2 per cent higher.

Two officials, speaking to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States wants to ensure the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and make sure worldwide commerce is not disrupted.

An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman.

The official said options are being reviewed.

The US blamed Tehran for the May 12 attacks off Fujairah.

"Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning", he wrote on Twitter.

Canada's Trudeau to meet Trump for talks on trade pact, detained Canadians
A day earlier, Freeland discussed trade with US trade czar Robert Lighthizer and China with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As well, Trudeau plans to discuss the detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in China.

Pompeo did not take questions after giving the brief statement.

Russian Federation was also quick to urge caution and officially denied the USA accusations - saying no one should rush to conclusions about the incident or use it to put pressure on Tehran. "If there is something the world can not afford, it is a major confrontation in the Gulf region".

The suspected attacks occurred at dawn Thursday about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the southern coast of Iran.

The incidents on Thursday near the strategic sea lane - through which one-third of all oil traded by sea passes - left one vessel ablaze and both adrift, forcing scores of crew to abandon the ships.

Navy Captain Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman, said the IRGC vessel was observed at 4.10pm local time approaching the Japanese-owned tanker.

There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts, which struck both tankers at the waterline.

Another source said the Front Altair reported a fire caused by a "surface attack" and that the crew had been picked up by nearby vessel Hyundai Dubai.

The world's eyes are already firmly fixed on Iran this week, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Tehran for a state visit.

Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge render aid to the crew of the Kokuka Courageous.

"But it is absolutely understandable if you're someone whose ultimate goal is to derail any easing of tensions between the two nations, and to effect regime change in Tehran".

Last month, the USA alleged that Iran used limpet mines to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah.

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