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US officials quick to blame Iran… again

US officials quick to blame Iran… again
After two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, American officials were quick to blame Iran for the incident. Where have we heard that story before?

Two tanker ships - the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous - were evacuated after they were attacked off the coast of Oman on Thursday. The shipping firms in charge of the tankers confirmed the incident, but it is not yet completely clear from one firm’s statement whether the Front Altair was attacked.

Iran claims it rescued 44 crew members from both tankers and brought them to safety, and nobody has yet taken responsibility for the attacks. American officials, however, have already begun to point the finger at Tehran.

Also on rt.com Pompeo blames Iran for attack on tankers in Gulf of Oman

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid the blame on Iran later on Thursday, citing unspecified “intelligence” and Iran and her “surrogates’” history of “unprovoked attacks.”

These supposedly Iranian attacks included drone strikes on Saudi oil pipelines, rocket attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and alleged acts of sabotage on shipping traffic in the region last month.

In the latter case, four ships were allegedly hit in acts of “sabotage” near the emirate of Fujairah last month. The Pentagon blamed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the apparent attack, while US National Security Advisor John Bolton declared on Wednesday that Iran was “almost certainly” responsible. No evidence was offered to support either of these statements.

Also on rt.com Bolton says Iran behind oil tanker attack off UAE...'almost certainly'

An investigation conducted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway into the May incident blamed a “state actor,” but stopped short of naming Iran. The Islamic Republic’s leadership has denied any involvement, but said it is not intimidated by Washington’s rhetoric.

The May incident was followed by an announcement from US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that 1,500 troops, a Patriot missile battalion, combat and reconnaissance aircraft and intelligence assets would be sent to the Middle East to counter the perceived Iranian threat.

Also on rt.com Tehran calls for securing of strategic waterways after tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman

As the two tankers hit on Thursday sit flaming in the Gulf, Washington has not made any similar moves as of yet, save for Pompeo’s vow to have UN ambassador Jonathan Cohen raise the issue at a meeting of the UN Security Council later on Thursday.

It remains unclear who would benefit from striking the ships, especially as the attack took place during a rare visit to Tehran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and doubly so given the ships were carrying “Japan-related” petrochemical cargo, according to the Japanese Trade ministry.

“Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” wrote Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

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