Iran Blames Israel, US and Saudis for Attack on Tanker, and Promises Revenge

October 17, 2019

by: Joshua Spurlock

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An Iranian oil tanker (illustrative)

Thursday, 17 October 2019 | The Iranians claim to have video evidence and other documents that will allegedly show the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia were behind the recent explosion on an Iranian oil tanker, although they haven’t produced such evidence yet. Senior Iranian Parliamentarian Abolfazl Hassan Beigi said on Wednesday per a report by the Fars News Agency that the cameras on the damaged tanker would lay the blame on those three nations for the incident, which Iran claims was a missile attack. Fars noted that no sailors on the ship were injured and the ship was in stable condition.

Beigi said they planned to deliver their supposed evidence to the United Nations, but since his comments, Iran has not yet published the evidence. Meanwhile, another Iranian official promised revenge for the alleged attack and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. While the US announcement did not mention the tanker incident or Iran’s accusations, Iran is on the agenda.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani was quoted by Iran’s Press TV as telling a Russian envoy, “We will give a response that will make those behind the attack on the Iranian vessel and seek to create a new wave of tension in the region regret their act.”

The same day as Iran’s threat, the US State Department announced a planned visit by Pompeo with Netanyahu “to discuss developments in Syria and the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior in the region.”

Connecting Iran’s two comments implies that the Iranians intend to respond to the US, Israel and the Saudis in some form. Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel over the years.

Just this week, Iranian Tasnim News Agency posted a photo to Twitter of new recruits in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps marching with flags of Israel under their shoes. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon tweeted in response, “These soldiers expose the Iranian regime’s true colors: their mission is to try to destroy Israel.”

The tanker incident also comes as tensions remain high between Iran and the West. After failed negotiations with Europe to strengthen the Iran nuclear deal last year, the United States exited the accord and subsequently renewed major sanctions on Iran.

In response, Iran has unleashed a host of belligerent activity, including attacking shipping, shooting down a US drone and launching a missile attack at the Saudi oil industry.

That has the US concerned about maritime security in the region. Last week, Special US Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook said that their security initiative in the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway—known as Sentinel—is intended to “raise awareness about threats in that area so that we can deter them.”

“We have asked nations to contribute maritime and aviation assets so that we have more eyes on that area,” said Hook in a State Department press release. “The more people that we have there, it makes it harder for Iran to execute its operations against tankers and other things like they’ve done in the past, if they ever wanted to threaten to mine the Strait of Hormuz, which they’ve done in the past, take out oil tankers, [or] capture oil tankers in other countries’ waters.”

Posted on October 17, 2019

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on October 16, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: kees torn/flickr.com