Gulf of Oman tankers incident: Attempt to start a war or invitation to resume US-Iran talks?
Two oil tankers were rocked by powerful blasts not far from Oman’s shores on Thursday. Little is known about the incident so far, but some reports insist that one of vessels was hit by a torpedo.
“A torpedo does make sense,” Alessandro Bruno of Gulf State Analytics said. “Some torpedoes can be launched by airplanes at a distance, as well as by submarines. Besides, if the tankers had been attacked from above the sea level –by boats– there would’ve been witnesses,” he suggested, but apparently there aren’t any.
Washington accused Iran of the attack, although it didn't provide any proof. Bruno believes “a number of people could be interested in it, and for a number of reasons.”
The obvious answer is Saudi Arabia and the US or the Iranian opposition group, Mojahedin-e Khalq, which sabotages Iranian government interests and facilities for the past few years.
The tanker explosions “look like a technique that Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton would exploit to cause trouble in Iran and trigger a conflict,” the analyst said, but Donald Trump “might not be prepared to take a dangerous line” as his hawks are pushing for.
After withdrawing the US from the Iranian nuclear deal last year, Donald Trump has been insisting that a new accord –which would also incorporate Tehran’s ballistic missile developments– must be signed. But Iran bluntly refuses to get involved in any negotiations, despite the Americans pressuring it, by sending warships to the Persian Gulf and by tightening sanctions.Also on rt.com ‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman
Another significant fact that shouldn’t be downplayed is that the provocation occurred on the same day that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Iran, on a first such high-level trip since 1979.
“Japan is one of the countries that has suffered the most from Trump’s sanctions against Iran because it was one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil,” therefore improved relations between Washington and Tehran are among Tokyo’s core interests. Besides “the two tankers were, apparently, connected to Japan,” he added.
The tankers’ blasts occurring off Oman’s shores may not be a coincidence either. “This country is independent of the crisis [in the Persian Gulf]. Oman has maintained very good relations with Qatar and also has good relations with Iran,” which were both made pariahs by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. Bruno suggested that both Oman and Japan are interested in US and Iran making a deal and were ready to mediate it.
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