Iran suggests oil attacks orchestrated to spark conflict

Larry Hoffman
May 15, 2019

"And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that", Trump said in response to questions about the story.

Washington wants to block Iran's oil exports after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear programme. "Recent comments from OIR's Deputy Commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from USA and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region", he said.

The reports come as the USA warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as the United States is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to counter what it called "threats from Tehran".

Four tankers were targeted overall, according to the UAE, in what the country said was a "sabotage attack" that took place near the strategic port of Fujairah on Sunday.

Putin said his May 3 phone call with Trump "created the impression that the president intends to restore Russian-American connections and contacts to resolve joint issues that present mutual interests".

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an unexpected visit to Baghdad where he met with Iraqi officials to discuss U.S. security concerns amid what he called "escalating" Iranian activity.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that neither the United States nor Iran wanted war, and Iraq was in contact with both, state news agency INA reported.

"What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking", Hunt said.

"This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war".

The Times' report entitled, "White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War", scarcely concealed its disapproval of the new planning, however.

Meanwhile, Spain has recalled a frigate that was deployed alongside a U.S. aircraft carrier because of the rising tensions in the region. Last Sunday, Mr. Bolton announced that the us would send a carrier group to the Mideast following intelligence that Iran planned to strike at American forces in the region. There also are threats at sea in the Persian Gulf region, where US officials have observed Iranian-controlled vessels transporting military hardware including missiles.

But the Associated Press reported Tuesday, quoting a US official, that an American military team sent to investigate gas reached an initial assessment that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards, designated a terrorist organization by Washington, threatened last month to close the Hormuz chokepoint if Tehran was barred from using it.

As tensions between the United States and Iran have increased, Tehran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Since then, Iranian political and military leaders have repeatedly threatened to target USA military assets in the region if Washington sought to prevent Tehran from exporting its crude oil. Saudi Aramco confirms that no injuries or fatalities have been reported. It gave no details of the nature of the sabotage.

Hook declined to say whether he believed Iran played a role in the attacks off Fujairah or if Pompeo blamed Iran. Tehran has called the United States military presence "a target" rather than a threat.

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