WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down in accusing Iran of executing twin tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, saying the incident had Iran “written all over it.”
“Iran did do it,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox and Friends,” after the US military released footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from one of the tankers.
“You know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump said. “I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it.”
“You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off – and that was exposed.”
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) June 14, 2019
Trump did not preview any potential US response to the attack, saying the US has been “very tough on sanctions.” He added: “They’ve been told in very strong terms we want to get them back to the table.”
“I’m ready when they are,” he said, and added that he was in “no rush.”
Russia warned Friday against jumping to conclusions over the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman after US President Donald Trump blamed them on Iran.
“We consider it necessary to refrain from hasty conclusions,” the Russian foreign ministry said, calling for a thorough international investigation.
Britain blamed Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Friday for the attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the attacks, said they had violated international norms, and called on Iran to stop all forms of destabilising activity.
“These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region,” he said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed this week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in a phone call on Friday, the White House said, adding that Trump thanked Abe for Abe’s effort to facilitate talks with Iran.
Meanwhile, Iranian military fast-boats in the Gulf of Oman are preventing two privately owned tug boats from towing away an oil tanker damaged in attacks on Thursday, a US official said on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The US official did not say how the United States knew of the reported standoff between the Iranian fast-boats and the tug boats, which were trying to tie up and tow away the Norwegian-owned Front Altair.
The United States blames Iran for Thursday’s attacks against the Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.