Iranian lawmaker claims ‘Israeli mischief’ behind Gulf ship attacks
search

Iranian lawmaker claims ‘Israeli mischief’ behind Gulf ship attacks

War of words after US official accuses Iran of blowing holes in 4 tankers; assaults come days after Israeli TV said Israel warned the US that Iran was weighing such attacks

The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a "sabotage" attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)
The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a "sabotage" attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)

A member of Iran’s parliament on Tuesday blamed Israel for attacks that damaged four oil tankers anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

“The events that took place in the Emirates were Israeli mischief,” Behrouz Nemati said, according to a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Nemati gave no other details concerning the attack.

Iranian officials regularly blame Israel for incidents in the Middle East and the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the Jewish state is a major cause of the crises in the Middle East in a statement ahead of Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the “catastrophe” that befell them with Israel’s creation in 1948.

In Sunday’s attacks, explosive charges blew holes in four oil-carrying ships after the US recently warned that “Iran or its proxies” could target maritime traffic in the region.

Iranian parliament member Behrouz Nemati. (YouTube screen capture)

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that drones attacked one of its oil pipelines in an assault later claimed by Iran-backed rebels.

The assaults came days after an Israeli television report said Israel had warned the US that Iran was considering targeting Saudi oil production facilities.

Tensions have risen since US President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and restored US sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

European powers have vowed to fight to save the nuclear deal and the European Union has urged Iran to respect the international agreement, saying it aims to continue trading with the country despite US sanctions.

An American military team’s initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a US official said.

The incident came after the White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, and has reportedly been reviewing a plan to send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment or attacks American targets.

The increased tensions led Britain to warn Monday that armed conflict might break out inadvertently between the United States and Iran.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels.

read more:
less
comments
more