Iran has called on the United Nations Secretary-General to use his good offices to bring together regional powers in order to defuse tensions with the United States.

Tehran’s envoy was addressing the press while the Security Council was convened in close-door discussions where Washington’s envoy was presenting what they believe is evidence of Iran’s responsibility for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on May 12th and June 13th – a charge Tehran has rejected.

The latest developments come on the same day the administration of President Donald Trump imposed a set of fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, this time targeting the leadership of the country including the Ayatollah Al Khamenei.

The new sanctions were imposed through Executive Order by President Trump just days after pulling back from a planned retaliatory strike against Iran over the downing of one of America’s surveillance drones.

This, as the Security Council met in closed-session where the United States presented what it views as evidence of Iran’s culpability in the oil tanker incidents including what it says, are the coordination of the attacks and the knowledge of the vessels attacked – all pointing to a sophisticated state actor.

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen says.

“We have video of a Ghasti patrol boat which is used only by the Iranian navy pulling up at high speed next to one of the attacked tankers to remove an unexploded limpid from its hull. It’s striking that the patrol boat knew exactly where to look for this unexploded mine and did not use any of the standard procedures you’d expect from a team approaching an unknown explosive ordinance. The Iranian navy knew exactly how the mine was supposed to function and exactly where it was. The removal and confiscation of the mine suggest an attempt by Tehran to hide its involvement in the attacks Based on this evidence its clear to us and it should be to the world that Iran was responsible for the May 12th and June 13th attacks against ships in the Persian Gulf.”

Iran has categorically rejected the claim through its Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi.

“Certain circles from inside and outside the regions through dangerous acts are attempting to escalate the tensions. This helps them to justify further foreign military build-up in the region and sell more American investor arms to certain countries. To pursue this policy they resort to deception, fabrications, and disinformation. One clear example is the unfounded claim of the US again Iran regarding the recent oil tankers incident which was not even supported by some of the closest allies of the US.”

He also rejected the US maximum pressure campaign of sanctions as a means to get Iran around the negotiating table.

“On dialogue with the US, I think that everybody agrees that dialogue has certain rules and regulations, you cannot start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, who is intimidating you. Today we just witnessed the United States impose another set of sanctions against Iran, how can we start a dialogue with somebody whose primary preoccupation is to put more sanctions on Iran. So the atmosphere of such a dialogue is not ready yet.”

Security Council members urged calm Council President and Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi says.

“The Council members condemned the attacks on the oil tankers which represent a serious threat to maritime navigation and energy supply, contravene international rules on freedom of navigation and maritime transport as well as a threat to international peace and security. The Council members urged concerned parties and all countries in the region to exercise maximum restraint and to take measures and actions to reduce escalations and end tension.”

Seeking a diplomatic off-ramp that currently seems far too complicated due to the lack of consensus on who did what, when, and why.

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