News Analysis |
Less than a month after the Fujairah incident where Saudi and Emirati oil tankers were targeted, two more tankers came under attack and the United States was quick to blame Iran for it.
Two more tankers came under attack and caught fire in the Gulf of Oman forcing the crew to abandon the ship as the cause so far has not been conclusively ascertained. The ships underwent blasts which were initially believed to have been attacked by torpedoes, underwater missiles, but later the theory was debunked due to lack of evidence.
4 tankers belonging to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came under attack in the open sea in Fujairah. Though the United States held its apprehensions, the blame was not pinned on Iran
United States has explicitly blamed Iran for the attack on the ships as a video was made public by the U.S CENTCOM showing the Iranian rescuers removing an unexploded mine which was magnetically attached to one of the two ships.
U.S. officials @CENTCOM have released video they say show that Iran was involved in an attack on an oil tanker near the entrance of the Persian Gulf.
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 14, 2019
U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, without sharing explicit and conclusive evidence to his claim, told the reporters that Iran was behind the attack.
“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019
Iran has categorically denied the allegations and said it oversees the security in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mosevi said that Iranian troops were first responders to the distressed calls from the crew of ill-fated ships.
Last month, 4 tankers belonging to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came under attack in the open sea in Fujairah. Though the United States held its apprehensions, the blame was not pinned on Iran immediately to allow investigations to lead the course. However, in this case, as Pompeo mentioned himself that the attack could not have been orchestrated without the expertise of a nation state.
Negotiations seem Difficult Now
No matter the degree to which Iran was responsible in the last month’s attack on the tankers, it served the purpose and the United States pushed for detente. U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on record to say that the United States is willing to engage Iran in talks without any preconditions. However, Iran’s response was not quite welcoming as President Rouhani and his aides believed that the United States’ intentions behind the offer are dubious. Their concerns gained strength when the U.S instead of taking confidence-building measures imposed fresh sanctions on the country.
Now that another attack has been carried out and the United States realized that it can no longer call for talks immediately pinned it down in Iran. Both Iran and the United States have said that they are not interested in the conflict. “Iran will never initiate a war but will give a crushing response to any aggression,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said and same was repeated in the statement issued by U.S CENTCOM statement which read that the United States is not looking for a conflict in the Middle East but it will be protecting its interest at any cost. But the threat spectrum of an armed conflict which had come down after the U.S push for talks is up and live again.
Consolidated Support for Iran
After Iran threatened the international community that it will be reinitiating the process of Uranium enrichment, the global community had been proactive to resolve the conflict. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with President Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in this regard a few days after the visit of German foreign minister. Heiko Maas, German Foreign minister, offered Tehran of an exclusive payment gateway Instex as a protection against the U.S sanctions. All in all, despite its economy being in the bad shape, Iran has diplomatic support which will come in handy in coming days.