News ID: 253849
Published: 1014 GMT June 07, 2019

Inquiry into oil tanker attacks stops short of blaming Iran

Inquiry into oil tanker attacks stops short of blaming Iran

An unidentified state actor has been blamed for attacks on four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf last month, according to an inconclusive inquiry that stopped short of pointing the finger at Iran.

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia and Norway presented the preliminary findings during a private briefing to members of the UN Security Council, which will also receive the final results of the inquiry and consider a possible response, The Guardian reported on Friday.

The US has accused Iran of almost certainly being behind the attacks on the four oil tankers off the Emirati coast, but the brief report, while providing evidence of the sophistication of the attack, goes nowhere near identifying the culprit.

The four vessels – two Saudi-flagged, a Norwegian-flagged and an Emirati-flagged – were damaged by explosions in UAE territorial waters, off the port of Fujairah.

The initial findings showed that it was “highly likely” that four limpet mines, which are magnetically attached to a ship’s hull under the waterline, were used in the attacks. The report said they had been placed by trained divers deployed from fast boats. The mines were placed soon after the ships were anchored.

The UAE believes the attacks required high-level intelligence in order to identify the four oil tankers as targets, one of which – a Saudi ship – was at the opposite end of the anchorage area at Fujairah from the three other tankers.

The report also said that detailed knowledge of the ships’ designs was required to detonate the mines without sinking the tankers. The mines were sequenced to explode within an hour of each other.

Despite the ambiguous findings, Saudi Arabia continued to blame Iran. Tehran has denied involvement.

“We believe the responsibility for this attack lies on the shoulders of Iran,” Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi said after the briefing.

Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said after the closed-door briefing that no evidence had been presented linking Iran to the attacks. “We shouldn’t jump to conclusions,” Safronkov said. “This investigation will be continued.”

Tehran reacted coolly to the findings, saying the UAE was determined to blame it as part of an effort to escalate the situation and press the US into a war with Iran.



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