USA footage shows 'Iran removing unexploded mine'

Clay Curtis
June 15, 2019

The explosions, which sparked a fire on at least one of the two ships, are still under investigation.

In ticking off a list of Iranian acts of "unprovoked aggression", including Thursday's oil tanker attacks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added a surprise accusation.

Earlier in the day, US Central Command releases a video that it says shows Iranian IRGC members removing an unexploded mine from one of the damaged ships.

According to the U.S. account of events, USA naval forces in the region received distress calls from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair at 6.12am (local time) and from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous at 7am, following explosions, and moved towards the area. An individual stands up on the bow of the boat and can be seen removing an object from the tanker's hull.

Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, is a bitter regional rival of Iran.

"Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat", he said, appearing to refer to the images and video released by the Pentagon late Thursday.

Successive US wars against Iraq, which culminated in the illegal invasion of the country and cost the deaths of well over a million people, have been followed by the wars for regime change in Libya and Syria in which Washington utilized, funded and armed Islamist militias tied to Al Qaeda for the objective of overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi and the attempt to overthrow that of Bashar al-Assad. "The video now nails it".

But British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt differed, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible.

7 May: Iran says it plans to withdraw from parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement with major world powers.

Just before Trump gave his interview to Fox, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced Washington for having "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran [without] a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence".

"The ship operator said "flying objects" that may have been bullets were the cause of damage to the vessel, rather than mines used by Iranian forces, as the USA has suggested", the Independent reported.

The President of Kokuka Sangyo Marine, Yutaka Katada, said he believed there was "no possibility of mine attack" owing to the attack being "well above the naval line".

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Katada, the company's president, citing accounts from the ship's crew, said Friday: "I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship". "The UK remains in close coordination with global partners to find diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions".

In January 2012, Iran threatened to block the Strait in retaliation for USA and European sanctions against its oil production to try to stop its nuclear program.

"President Trump expressed appreciation for my visit to Iran and efforts".

It was later announced the United States had sent one of its guided missile destroyers, the USS Mason, to the region.

The two tankers - one carrying oil and the other transporting chemicals - were attacked near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route that has been the focal point of regional tensions for decades.

Mr Pompeo also believes Iran's attack on four other tankers last month were an attempt to inflate worldwide oil prices. Tehran rejected the claims.

Meanwhile, Britain's assessment found that Iran was "almost certainly" behind the attacks, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. The Russian Embassy in Tehran said that the crew will fly from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai and then to Russia.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported that Iran's navy rescued 44 crew members from the tankers. "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired", he said.

In Washington that same day, U.S. lawmakers are briefed by members of the Trump administration about its claims that Iran poses a threat to the country.

"I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him, now or in future", Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said. "They are not ready, and neither are we!"

The June 13 attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman has pushed tensions between Iran and the United States to new heights, raising concerns that the region risks a repeat of the infamous tanker war.

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