Iran has accused the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of lying about the “torpedo attack” on an American-linked oil tanker as tensions reach breaking point.
According to Iran, the US launched the attacks Thursday on two tankers which burst into flames in the Gulf of Oman, as part of a “false flag” operation to justify another war of aggression in the region.
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Ex-CIA Director Mike Pompeo immediately blamed Iran for the “blatant” attacks, and the Pentagon released images and footage they described as “proof” of Iranian involvement.
But Iran has hit back at the “unfounded and reckless” claims and accused the US of “warmongering” as part of a “disinformation campaign”.
“The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots and false flag operations in the region,” Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.
“Warning, once again, about all of the US coercion, intimidation and malign behaviour, Iran expresses concern over suspicious incidents for the oil tankers that occurred today.”
The Sun report: It came after Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran and the Pentagon attempted to prove the Iranians are to blame.
Pompeo said the attacks were part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran which posed a threat to international peace and security.
Iran blasted his “inflammatory remarks” and said they amounted to “another Iranophobic campaign”.
“Iran categorically rejects the U.S. unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms,” the Iranian mission said in a statement.
The Islamic nation added that the US poses the “most significant threat” to the peace and security of the Persian Gulf region.
“The US economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as the massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the most significant threat to its peace and security,” the statement said.
Iran’s foreign minister later dismissed the US accusations as “sabotage diplomacy”.
Both the Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous burst into flames and were forced to evacuate in the troubled region on Thursday.
Reports suggested the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous may have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.
The Pentagon released a video that it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker.
This suggests the Islamic Republic may have sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene.
The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the US military’s Central Command, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous.
But the owner has since said the tanker crew saw “flying objects” before the attack, suggesting the ship was not damaged by mines, according to AP.
Pompeo said the US will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.
Hours later it was revealed the US Navy is sending the guided missile destroyer USS Mason to the scene of the attacks.
The USS Bainbridge rescued 21 of the 44 stricken sailors involved in the incident near the Strait of Hormuz.
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