Mohammed Bin Salman accuses Iran of oil tanker attacks

Echoing the stance taken by the United States and Britain, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday accused Iran of carrying out the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this week.

The targetted tankers were carrying “Japan-related cargo”, and the incident had occurred at a time when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on an official visit to Iran, reported Sputnik.

“The Iranian regime did not respect the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to Tehran and while he was there replied to his efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese,” Salman said during an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Shortly after the incident, the US had pinned the blame of the attack on the Islamic Republic. To back its claim, the country had even released a blurry video, which, it believed, showed the boat crew of IRGC removing an exploded mine from one of the tankers shortly after the attack.

“The attack on two oil tankers on June 13 was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks over the last month. It was a clear threat to peace, security and freedom of navigation,” US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had said. “The US will defend its force, interests, partners and allies. We call upon all nations threatened to join us in that endeavour.”

The allegation was immediately denounced by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “The US had immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”

The incident has simmered the tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

“We do not want a war in the region,” Salman added. “But we won’t hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests.