Oil tanker attacks: calls for calm after US accusations against Iran

Calls for calm are growing for fear of a blaze in the Gulf region, after the attacks on two oilmen in the Arabian Sea, which US President Donald Trump Friday accused Iran, which denies any involvement .

Two oil tankers, Norwegian and Japanese, were targeted on Thursday for indefinite attacks as they sailed near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic sea crossing on a global scale.

The attacks came a month after the sabotage of four ships, including three oil tankers, off the United Arab Emirates. Washington had already blamed Tehran, who had denied.

"We see the boat, with a mine that has not exploded and it's signed" from Iran, assured the US president on Fox News, relying on a video published by the Pentagon. This seems to show the berthing of one of the tankers by a speedboat of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Iranian regime, who removes an "unexploded suction cup" from the hull of the tanker.

The Guardians "did not want to leave any evidence behind them," Trump said.

Moscow, an ally of Iran, "severely" condemned the attacks and asked Washington not to "jump to conclusions" while several analysts said the video footage was unusable. The UN has called for an independent investigation to find the perpetrators of the attack.

China has called for "dialogue" while Iraq, close to both Tehran and Washington, has advocated "appeasement". The Arab League has warned against "a confrontation that will leave no one safe".

Washington's allies in the region have also condemned the attacks. Saudi Arabia has expressed "great concern" and the UAE has denounced a "dangerous escalation".

London, another historic enemy of the Islamic Republic, also said that Iran was "almost certainly" responsible for the attack that occurred off its coast.

- "Diplomatic Sabotage" -

Iran has denied any involvement, saying the US accusations are "baseless".

Press TV, the English-language news channel of Iran's state television, said the Revolutionary Guards were "the closest force to the scene of the incident" and Iran had " was the first to go there to save the crews. "

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of Twitter of "diplomatic sabotage and make-up of its #TerrorismEconomic against Iran".

And Iranian President Hassan Rohani, visiting Kyrgyzstan, has accused the United States of "representing a serious threat to stability in the region and the world, by violating all international rules."

Tensions are brisk between Iran and the administration of Donald Trump who slammed the door about a year ago of the Iranian nuclear deal and reinstated economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran. The United States sent military reinforcements to the Middle East in early May, accusing Iran of planning "imminent" attacks on US interests.

Washington accuses Tehran of trying to disrupt the supply of the world market by blocking the Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30% of the oil transported by sea, a threat already evoked by the past by Iran.

- Threats on Ormuz -

The Iranians "are not going to close (the strait), it's not going to be closed, it's not going to be closed for a long time and they know it, they've been told it in the strongest terms," Donald said on Friday. Trump.

But the shipping companies are worried: "If these waters become dangerous, the supply of the entire western world could be threatened," said Paolo d'Amico, president of Intertanko, an oil tankers association that includes two ship owners affected Thursday.

Three explosions shook the tanker "Front Altair", which was carrying naphtha, a petroleum product, causing a finally controlled fire. The 23 crew members were rescued by the Iranian navy and transported to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas before their repatriation, according to Frontline, the company owning the ship.

Kokuka Courageous, a LNG carrier, has been fired and its cargo is intact, according to its Japanese operator, Kokuka Sangyo. The vessel and the 21 crew members were rescued by the US Navy and escorted to the Khor Fakkan port in the Emirates.

According to the owner, the crew saw a "flying object" aim at the tanker. "Then there was an explosion".

US Defense Minister Patrick Shanahan has called for "an international consensus to address this international problem".

However, he did not rule out the possibility of further strengthening the US military presence in the region after last month's announcement of 1,500 additional troops and fighter and reconnaissance planes in the Middle East.

Sign of the prevailing feverishness, oil prices ended up on Friday. In London, Brent North Sea crude for August delivery rose 70 cents to end at 62.01 dollars. In New York, WTI barrel for the July contract climbed 23 cents to finish at $ 52.51.

"The courses have increased with the approach of a weekend that could see the relations between Iran and the United States fester," said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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