Published: Sat, June 15, 2019
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Latest Gulf attacks will have grave impact on energy trade

Latest Gulf attacks will have grave impact on energy trade

Relations between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse a year ago, when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, and reimposed sanctions that were lifted under the deal in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear work.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it can not sell its oil due to us sanctions.

The ship's crew saw an Iranian military ship in the vicinity on Thursday night Japan time, Katada said.

The footage, officials say, shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard pulling alongside a targeted ship to remove evidence after the attack - an unexploded limpet mine attached to the ship's hull by a magnet. Iran denies being involved and accuses the us of waging an "Iranophobic campaign" against it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the US accusations as part of "sabotage diplomacy".

Iran denied being involved in last month's attacks, and its foreign minister questioned the timing of Thursday's incidents, given that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

Iran has denied it had anything to do with explosions and fires aboard the tankers Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous, which were steaming approximately 10 nautical miles from each other and issued distress calls less than an hour apart.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia are both archenemies of Iran, neither state has called for major military action in the wake of the oil tanker attacks.

The price of oil rocketed on Thursday amid fears of disruption to one of the world's most important tanker routes as a result of an escalation in the region.

"If the hostility of enemies increase, we will be able to do so", Iran's armed forces chief of staff, Mohammad Bagheri, told semi-official ISNA in April.

They also come amid escalating tension between the U.S. and Israel and Iran over Iran's nuclear enrichment programme.

The mine has "Iran written all over it", President Trump said, adding that "We don't take it lightly", referring to the attacks.

"The United States will defend its forces, interests and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability", he warned.

Calling reports of a mine attack "false", he said: "The crew was saying it was hit by a flying object ..."

Katada said the Kokuka Courageous's crew saw flying objects approaching the ship. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman.

On Thursday, two oil tankers were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman, just outside the Strait of Hormuz which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the open seas.

The crew of the Front Altair was first rescued by the Hyundai Dubai, according to USA officials, but Iranian gunboats quickly surrounded the ship and demanded the crew be turned over.

Washington has also blamed Iran or its proxies for attacks on May 12 that crippled four oil tankers in the same area.

The boat in the video is similar to the one that Iran's IRGC uses, according to analysis by Frank Gardner, BBC'S security correspondent. Further, the company chief said there was "zero possibility that they were torpedoes" or mines or any other sea-based munition that caused the damage aboard the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts, which struck both tankers at the waterline. He didn't elaborate and took no questions.

Iran was also blamed in the attack by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Under the deal reached with China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and the U.S., Iran had agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

President Donald Trump called into Fox and Friends on Friday morning and argued that his administration is responsible for reining in Iran.

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