Japan distancing itself from USA claims of Iranian involvement in tanker attacks

18 Juin, 2019, 11:17 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Japan distancing itself from USA claims of Iranian involvement in tanker attacks

China and Iran have close energy ties, and China has been angered by USA threats against countries and companies that violate US sanctions by importing Iranian oil, including Chinese firms.

Pompeo said the U.S. was discussing a possible worldwide response, and he had made a number of calls to foreign officials about the tanker attacks.

Saturday's report by the official IRNA news agency reports that Iranian diplomat Mahmoud Barimani in a meeting with Ambassador Robert Macaire strongly protested Britain's "blindly and hastily following" the United States in accusing Iran.

The images are said to show an Iranian speedboat, approaching one of the vessels to remove an unexploded limpet mine.

Also on Monday, Iranian ambassador to the U.K. Hamid Baeidinejad warned that Tehran and Washington were now "heading towards a confrontation". Iran has denied involvement. "We've done what we can to deter this", Pompeo said. "We hope that Iran is cautious with its decision-making and not lightly abandon this agreement".

"We still don't know if the tanker goes to Khor Fakkan or Fujairah as they are very close", said a spokesman, referring to two Emirati ports on the Gulf of Oman.

Gulf Cooperation Council secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani also called the attack a "direct threat" to energy supplies, calling on world powers to protect worldwide shipping lanes and hold the perpetrators accountable. The U.S. claims the drone had been observing one of the two tankers that had been attacked when Iran fired a surface to air missile but missed the drone, NPR's Kenyon reports.

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Last Wednesday, the coalition said a rebel missile attack on Abha airport left 26 civilians wounded, drawing promises of "stern action" from the military alliance.

A statement on Sunday said the USA drone, known as a Reaper, was shot down on June 6 by a SA-6 surface-to-air missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack, saying they suspect another limpet mine attack on oil tankers by Iran. Last month, the group carried out drone strikes on two Saudi oil pumping stations.

Since a year ago, when President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran reached with world powers, the administration has been imposing sanctions that have strained Iran's economy and have cut into its oil exports.

"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.

Tehran and Washington have engaged in a war of words since the United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran and increased its military presence in the Gulf.

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