Thu, 21 Nov 2019

Tehran [Iran], June 15 (ANI): Iran on Friday denounced the allegations by the United States that Tehran was responsible for the attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the US jumped to the allegations "without circumstantial evident".

"The US had immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence," Al Jazeera quoted Zarif as saying.

On Thursday two oil tankers-- Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous-- were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, raising tensions in the region.

This comes a month after four tankers including two of Saudi Arabia were attacked. Saudi Arabia had said that some "state actor" was involved in the attack on May 12.

Blaming Iran for the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "The attack on two oil tankers on June 13 was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks over the last month. It was a clear threat to peace, security and freedom of navigation.""The US will defend its force, interests, partners and allies. We call upon all nations threatened to join us in that endeavour," he added.

The US also released a blurry video in which a boat crew of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) drawing up to Kokuka Courageous, hours after the suspected attacks, and removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull.

Coming in Iran's support, Russia has warned against "hasty conclusions" over the tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman or blaming the suspected attacks on Iran "I would use this opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, from any attempts to impose responsibility on those who are seen as undesirable," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters after a meeting of the State Duma's international affairs committee, RIA-Novosti reported.

Several other countries including France and the United Kingdom have condemned the attack.France termed the attack as the "disturbing incident".

"We have learned that a disturbing incident involving two tankers in the Arabian Sea has occurred today, in the broader context of rising tensions in the region, as evidenced also by the attack on the [Abha airport] in Saudi Arabia yesterday, which we firmly condemned," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told CNN.

Tensions have escalated in the already simmering region. The US and Iran are at loggerhead since President Donald Trump's decision in May 2018 to withdraw from a landmark nuclear deal.(ANI)

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