The United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier Thursday as the Security Council met in closed discussions on the matter.
This comes amidst calls from the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for the facts to be established while warning that the world could not afford a major confrontation in the Gulf.
Pompeo says the attacks were just the latest in a series of aggressive moves by Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests and called it a threat to international peace and security but not all the members of the Security Council are embracing Washington’s position.
The US says it knows who carried out the attacks on two tankers, one Norwegian and another Singaporean near one of the busiest oil shipping lanes in the world.
One tanker left ablaze and both adrift with US Navy vessels in the region providing assistance.
Pompeo says, “It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”
Iran called the attack suspicious and urged a regional dialogue.
Russia appeared to agree through UN envoy Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.
Nebenzia says, “There’s a need to come together to achieve one of the most important goals before us today launching regional dialogue aimed at establishing a security architecture in the Persian Gulf, we currently, according to our views, tensions are being artificially fuelled and inflamed around Iran.”
Guterres while condemning the incidents called for the facts to be established. “I note with deep concern this morning’s security incident in the Strait of Hormuz. I strongly condemn any attack against civilian vessels. Facts must be established, and responsibilities clarified. If there is something the world cannot afford, it is a major confrontation in the Gulf region.”
With the meeting of the Council merely a preliminary discussion, the body is likely to remain seized of the matter as explained by Council President and Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi.
“In my national capacity, because this incident in the Gulf in our region and we are very grateful and we are supportive that the Council discussed it today and we are really pleased that all Council members condemned what happened and it is a violation of international law and it’s a criminal act and we would like to see an investigation, thorough investigation and we would like to know who was behind this incident.”
Council diplomats told SABC News that the condemnation of the attacks was unanimous among all council members but that the United States did not present any evidence to back up their claims of Iran’s culpability, only allegations.
SABC News asked the President of the Council if he believes Iran was responsible, his response, “no comment”.
Washington believes Iran is lashing out because the government there wants stiff sanctions imposed on them lifted.
Iran for its part has ruled out direct negotiations with the United States.