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Saudi crown prince blames Iran for Gulf of Oman tanker attacks



In an interview with the Saudi-owned Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awasat published Sunday, the crown prince – also known as MBS – asserted that Saudi Arabia "does not want a war in the region," but stressed that the kingdom "will not have any threat to its people, sovereignty and vital interests."

In reference to Thursday's attack on two oil tankers along the Gulf of Oman, MBS daily told the Iranian regime disrespected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe while he was a guest in Tehran by "answering his efforts with an attack on the two tankers, of which one is Japanese. "

The Saudi crown also added that the kingdom plays an important role in the international community by" securing the delivery of oil supplies to safeguarding the stability of the international economy. " He also asserted that while he is certain that the kingdom's strategic relations with the US would not be affected by "media campaigns or some stances here and there," these campaigns "do not serve the common goals of our countries."

In response to days of accusations, Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani accused the US of carrying out acts of sabotage against the two tankers in an effort to pressure Tehran, according to Iranian state-funded Press TV.

"Suspicious acts in the Sea of ​​Oman against oil tankers … seem to be supplementary to the [US] economic sanctions as the Americans went nowhere with the sanctions, [also,] especially, given America's historical record in the area [of false flag ops]"Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Sunday.

The country's Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Tehran in a" protest "at the UK's stance on the attacks in the Gulf of Oman, state-run Press TV said Saturday

In a statement Friday, Britain's Foreign Office said it was "almost certain" that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were behind the attacks. The statement said no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible. "

During the meeting, the British ambassador was asked to explain the UK's" unacceptable position ", Press TV reported. "We remind the British government of the necessity of revising its approach and adopting realistic positions based on the realities of Islamic Republic of Iran's policies," Head of the Europe Department at the Iranian Foreign Ministry Mahmoud Barimani said, according to Press TV.

 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about the tanker attacks at the State Department on Thursday.

Feeder for Iran hawks

President Donald Trump seems convinced that Tehran was responsible. "Iran did it and you know they did it because you saw the boat," he said, appearing to refer to the images and video released by the Pentagon late Thursday.

The attack could provide more for Iran's hawks within the US administration, whose recent Iran saber rattling has frustrated Trump. One of them, National Security Adviser John Bolton, announced the Pentagon was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and bombing task force at the Middle East in response to a "number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

The United States also has Iran for a similar attack on four oil tankers last month in the Gulf of Oman, claims that Iran also denies.

US Central Command said in Iranian surface-to-air missile was fired at a US drone that arrived at the aftermath of an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

The missile – a modified Iranian SA-7 – missed the MQ9 drone, spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown told CNN on Saturday.

"Subsequence analysis indicates that this was likely attempt to shoot down or otherwise disrupt the MQ-9 surveillance" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attack Thursday on one of the tankers, Brown said.

 Iranians fired missile at US drone prior to tanker attack, US official says

The drone arrived at 6:20 pm said one of the two ships, Brown said.

The missile was fired at about 25 minutes later at 6:45 am, as the drone was surveillance the aftermath of the attack on the second ship, the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous, he said. The closest missile to the drone was about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles), Brown said.

In the hours before the attack, the iranans also fired a missile at a US drone flying overhead, but it missed, a US official customs CNN.

The United States has released video footage of the shows in Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels' holes. The Pentagon says the video shows Iranians returning to the scene of the attacks to remove evidence of their involvement.

But the president of the company that owns the Japanese thinker said he believes there is no possibility of my attack. being "well above the naval line." The company president said a crew member who witnessed one of the blasts reported seeing a "flying object."

Twenty-three crew members from the Front Altair, meanwhile, arrived in Dubai after first being taken to Iran, the shipping company that owns the tanker said Saturday.

The crew includes 11 Russians, one Georgian and 11 Filipinos.

 A picture obtained by AFP from the Iranian news agency Tasnim shows what they say are some of the crew of the oil tankers.

The CEO of the shipping company Frontline, Robert Hvide Macleod, said the captain made the decision to evacuate the ship after it was attacked. The Front Altair itself remains in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranian navy eventually picked up the crew and took them to the Iranian port of Jask. Earlier, a US official said Iranian small boats were preventing tug boats from towing away one of the damaged tankers. But Frontline spokesman Pat Adamson told CNN they were not aware of any type of obstruction around their vessel since the time of the attack.

A specialist team will now inspect the vessel for full assessment of the condition and damage, Frontline said.

CNN's Zachary Cohen and Vasco Cotovio contributed to this report.


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