By Irina Slav
The U.S. has video proof, CENTCOM says, that Iran was behind the explosions that rocked two tankers in the Gulf of Oman yesterday.
Reuters reports that U.S. Central Command spokesman Bill Urban late on Thursday released a video saying the footage showed a patrol boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approaching one of the tankers where it “was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”
Tehran has denied the allegations, calling them “unfounded”, with one senior government official telling the BBC that Iran had no connection to the explosions that pushed crude oil prices up by about US$3 per barrel.
In a statement released today, the Iranian UN missions said, “Iran categorically rejects the US unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents, and condemns it in the strongest possible terms.”
In a column for Bloomberg, commentator Julian Lee noted hours after the explosions that Iran would be the most likely target of blame-laying, but added it was not the only party that could benefit from tanker explosions.
Lee said the benefits for Iran from the attacks would be relatively insignificant but, he said, “There is another group that will benefit from the incident: the people who want to see the U.S. step up its campaign against Iran and move from an economic war to a military one. There are plenty of those, both in the U.S. and among its allies in the Persian Gulf and wider Middle East regions.”
Meanwhile, the owner of the Japanese tanker that the U.S. said was on the footage they released today, said the crew had reported “flying objects” just before it was hit, CBC reports. This contradicts the information released by the U.S. Central Command, and while it deepens the suspense it also suggests the situation is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, with tensions in the region likely to remain heightened.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com