Iran

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
... on May 12, four oil tankers had caught fire on the left side of the Strait and no one had claimed responsibility for the incident.
"Today, two vessels are on fire on the right side of the Strait and there is no information about the cause of the fire.

Media: Oil tanker incident heats up tensions between US, Iran
Press review: Who’s behind the Gulf tanker attacks and Serbia could send troops to Kosovo

From now on, all oil tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz are going to have additional security, and maritime patrols in the region are going to be beefed up, Izvestia learned from a source in Norway’s Frontline company, whose Front Altair oil tanker was one of the two vessels that had come under attack in Iran’s territorial waters on Thursday. However, experts interviewed by the paper say it is too early to blame the incident on Tehran.

The maritime areas where civil navigation is at risk are protected by international groups involving naval ships from various countries, US Center for Naval Analyses expert Michael Kofman told the paper. According to him, several ships, including American and British ones, are deployed to the zone where the attack took place. Their task is to combat pirates and provide assistance to ships in distress. Oil tankers only carry staff members of private military companies hired by ship owners, the expert noted, adding that those mercenaries were capable of thwarting attacks by pirates aboard light boats, armed with portable grenade launchers and AK rifles, but they couldn’t detect saboteurs underwater.

According to Head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies’ Center of the Near and Middle East Vladimir Fitin, forces seeking to push the US towards a direct armed conflict with Iran were behind the tanker attack. The expert believes that it could be the Arab monarchies or Israeli intelligence agencies. However, he did not rule out that pirates at sea like those active off Somalia’s coast and at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden were involved in the incident.

Last year, amid growing tensions with the US, Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost 20% of total global oil consumption passes, Vedomosti notes. However, this time it would be unreasonable to suspect Iran, said Maria Belova of Vygon Consulting. She pointed out that on May 12, four oil tankers had caught fire on the left side of the Strait and no one had claimed responsibility for the incident. "Today, two vessels are on fire on the right side of the Strait and there is no information about the cause of the fire. It would make more sense for the Iranians to deploy artillery to the Strait area and nearby islands to prevent ships from passing," Belova said.

Professor Vladimir Sazhin, a Senior Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, believes that the incident should be blamed on some militant organizations rather than on Iranian or Arab state agencies. In his view, terrorists seek to further raise tensions in the Persian Gulf area.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Saudi Arabia backs US charge Iran behind Gulf of Oman tanker attacks
Saudi Arabia said it agrees with the US blaming Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman as the Americans produced a video on Thursday showing the removal of a mine from the side of one of the ships by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).

US Central Command spokesman Bill Urban released a video of what the US military said was an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approaching the ship Kokuka Courageous "and was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous."

Published on Jun 13, 2019 (0:14 min.)

According to the Japanese state news agency NHK the tanker was hit by flying object, not mine.

BREAKING: Pompeo’s FALSE FLAG REFUTED By Japanese Media Authority – Tanker Hit By Flying Object, Not Mine – Confirms Onsite Worker
By Joaquin Flores - Jun 14, 2019
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
According to the Japanese state news agency NHK the tanker was hit by flying object, not mine.
'Flying objects' damaged Japanese tanker during attack in Gulf of Oman
A picture of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two that were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, is displayed during a news conference by the ship owner Kokuka Sangyo Ltd. at the company office in Tokyo, Japan June 13, 2019, in  in this photo released by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Two "flying objects" damaged a Japanese tanker owned by Kokuka Sangyo Co in an attack on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, but there was no damage to the cargo of methanol, the company president said on Friday.

The Kokuka Courageous is now sailing toward the port of Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates, with the crew having returned to the ship after evacuating because of the incident, Kokuka President Yutaka Katada told a press conference. It was being escorted by the U.S. Navy, he said.

“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” Katada said. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”

Katada said there was no possibility that the ship, carrying 25,000 tons of methanol, was hit by a torpedo.

U.S. releases video it says shows Iran's military recovering mine
A picture released by U.S. Central Command shows damage from an explosion (L) and a likely limpet mine, on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea, in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019.  U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

The U.S. military released a video late on Thursday that it said showed Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese-owned oil tanker, as Washington blamed Iran for attacks rattling global oil markets.

(... highly "likely - it was a mine" ... but that doesn't explain "the torpedo" version and what about "flying objects"? Oh, but wait ... what about the old stand-by, it was due to "Climate Change" and what hit the two oil tankers ... were "CARBON FOOT PRINTS"! Geez, they can't even keep track of their own "lies" any more!)

Slideshow (4 Images)
U.S. releases video it says shows Iran's military recovering mine

Germany: U.S video not enough to attribute blame over oil tanker attacks
A video provided by the United States is not sufficient to prove that Iran is behind the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman,
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday.

Trump says ready to hold talks with Iran despite tanker attacks
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was ready to launch talks with Iran whenever it was ready, even as he blamed Tehran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Tanker attack to be discussed at G20 ministerial meeting: Japan industry minister
FILE PHOTO - Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko leaves the European Commission headquarters after a meeting on steel overcapacity, in Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts

Japan's industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, said on Friday an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week will be discussed at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers this weekend.

Xi says China will promote steady ties with Iran
FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Iran's president on Friday that China will promote steady development of ties with Iran no matter how the situation changes, Chinese state media said.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Something is brewing here by the three master-minds, Bolton, Pompeo and Shanahan. I wonder, if they are after controlling "the Strait of Hormuz"? Iran - would never let that happen.

U.S. focus is to build global consensus after Mideast oil tanker attacks: Shanahan
FILE PHOTO - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan looks on during the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is focused on building international consensus following attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East that the United States has blamed here on Iran, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Friday.

Shanahan told Pentagon reporters that he, White House national security adviser John Bolton and US Secretary Mike Pompeo shared that goal.

Shanahan, asked later whether he was considering sending more troops or military capabilities to the Middle East, Shanahan said: “As you know we’re always planning various contingencies.”

But he then returned to the issue of building consensus.

“When you look at the situation, a Norwegian ship, a Japanese ship, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, 15 percent of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz," he said.

"So we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate.
We also need to broaden our (international) support for this international situation.”

U.S. and Gulf allies face tough task protecting oil shipping lanes
 A MH-60S helicopter hovers in the air with an oil tanker in the background as the USS John C. Stennis makes its way to the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, December 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo - RC14A8669860


The United States and its allies may need to start escorting commercial vessels to prevent further attacks in the Gulf oil shipping lanes, Gulf sources and experts said.

The Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, with the shipping lane just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.

Iran's Rouhani says Middle East situation calls for closer ties with Russia: RIA
The Middle East situation requires closer ties between Iran and Russia, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a China-led security bloc summit on Friday, according to the Russian state news agency RIA.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Something is brewing here by the three master-minds, Bolton, Pompeo and Shanahan. I wonder, if they are after controlling "the Strait of Hormuz"? Iran - would never let that happen.
U.S. focus is to build global consensus after Mideast oil tanker attacks: Shanahan
[...]
Shanahan, asked later whether he was considering sending more troops or military capabilities to the Middle East, Shanahan said: “As you know we’re always planning various contingencies.”

But he then returned to the issue of building consensus.

“When you look at the situation, a Norwegian ship, a Japanese ship, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, 15 percent of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz," he said.

"So we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate. We also need to broaden our (international) support for this international situation.”

Iran's Rouhani says Middle East situation calls for closer ties with Russia: RIA
The Middle East situation requires closer ties between Iran and Russia, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a China-led security bloc summit on Friday, according to the Russian state news agency RIA.
Good catch! :-)

Putin, Rouhani: Cooperation between Russia and Iran continuous in various fields
By Gh.A. Hassoun - 14 June, 2019

30486

Rouhani, in turn, said that the situation in the Middle East requires greater cooperation between Russia and Iran, adding that “under current conditions, serious external influences and imposed external sanctions, the need for interaction between countries of the region, especially between our two countries, becomes more urgent.”
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I sense the incident of sabotaging four oil tankers in Oman, in the Strait of Hormuz, on May 12th and this June 13th incident of two oil tankers being attacked - are the inspiration and game plan of the Israeli Mossad.

Back on May 12th, C.a. Posted an article by the Times of Israel that gave subtle hints on possible events. Later that day, reports were published of four oil tankers being sabotaged.



Israel has warned the US that Iran is contemplating targeting Saudi oil production facilities, an Israeli TV report said Friday night, as tensions between Tehran and the Trump Administration soar.

Channel 13 also quoted unnamed Arab intelligence sources saying there was a debate raging in the Iranian leadership about striking US and US-allied targets, with some in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps pushing for attacks, including against Israeli targets, while others cautioned that it would be “suicidal” to get into serious military conflict with the US.

The Channel 13 report came four days after the same TV channel first reported that the Israeli Mossad had tipped off the White House two weeks ago about an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target. That earlier report did not specify potential targets for such an ostensible attack.

The Israeli intel was conveyed by an Israeli delegation led by National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, which met with American intelligence officials at the White House late last month, the May 6 TV report said.

“It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing US pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against US interests in the Gulf,” an official was quoted as saying.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Thursday threatened a “swift and decisive” US response to any attack by Iran, in the latest of a series of escalating statements and actions.

The Pentagon said Friday that the US would move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East region to counter threats from Iran.
So, by the sounds of it, the Pentagon and the White House Intelligence Committee got their marching orders directly from Meir Ben Shabbat which probably also demanded 120,000 more troops be sent, along with the Patriot missile battery? Trump didn't take "the bait" on this one and quickly followed up with a rebuttal.

Trump denies U.S. plan to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran threat

During this same time span, Pompeo cancelled his trip to Russia on Monday May 13th, and instead flew to Brussels for a personal (unannounced) meeting with NATO's Stoltenberg. Pompeo then flew to Russia, the following day (May 14) where a second meeting was scheduled with Sergey Lavrov - before both met with President Putin in Sochi. On May 16, a report surfaced stating Trump told Shanahan - "no war with Iran!" Then on June 2, Stoltenberg states NATO won't defend Israel in case of Iran attack?

Jens Stoltenberg ✔ @jensstoltenberg
Great meeting with @SecPompeo during his visit to Brussels. Good discussions on a range of security issues including #Iran.
https://twitter.com/intent/like?tweet_id=1127963328305930241
11:46 AM - May 13, 2019

Lavrov to discuss Venezuela, Iran and Syria with Pompeo on May 14

Trump told U.S. defense chief: no war with Iran: N.Y. Times May 16, 2019


Press TV ✔ @PressTV
NATO says won’t defend Israel in case of Iran attack http://ptv.io/2aYg
https://twitter.com/intent/like?tweet_id=1002941467264987136
11:54 AM - Jun 2, 2018

Then ... On June 13, the US Navy’s Fifth fleet said it responded to a distress call by two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The two ships suffered a “reported attack.”

Why was there "a request" to send 120,000 troops? Maybe - to take possession of "the Strait of Hormuz" and from there - attack Iran directly?
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Sabotaging Iran's diplomacy with Asian leaders
US gov narrative blaming Iran for oil tanker attacks falls apart in hours

The US military published video of what it claims is an Iranian boat crew removing an unexploded mine from the hull of the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous.

But the company’s president insisted in remarks that it was not an Iranian mine but rather two “flying objects” that damaged the ship.
“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” Katada reiterated. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”

The "tanker was attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which about one-fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle Eastern producers including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Kuwait as well as Iran.

The company president added, “This strait is very crucial. Without this route we can not transport gasoline and heavy oil to Japan.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, shot back at the Trump administration’s allegations on Twitter. Zarif accused the White house of seeking to "sabotage diplomacy" and "cover up (American) economic terrorism against Iran," without offering "a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence" to back up its claims.

As The Grayzone reported, the US government accused Iran of the alleged attacks just as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Japanese leader to visit Tehran in four decades.

The Trump administration also issued its unsubstantiated allegations a day before an even more important meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a pan-Asian political and economic alliance that brought together the leaders of the world’s largest countries.


On June 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani joined President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, among other heads of state, at a regional summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The US government's accusations may have at least partially derailed Iran's diplomatic efforts, as Modi cancelled a bilateral meeting with Rouhani at the last minute, vaguely citing “scheduling issues.”

TOI India ✔ @TOIIndiaNews
PM Modi's meeting with Iranian President Rouhani cancelled due to scheduling issues http://toi.in/m1i6vb
https://twitter.com/intent/like?tweet_id=1139551339409596417
11:13 AM - Jun 14, 2019

PM Modi's meeting with Iranian President Rouhani cancelled due to scheduling issues | India News -...
India News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday could not hold a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the SCO summit her
timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Until the Trump administration illegally violated the international Iran nuclear deal (known officially as the JCPOA) in May 2018, India had been the second-largest purchaser of Iranian oil. But US threats of secondary sanctions forced New Delhi to cut Iranian oil imports.

Rouhani and Modi have recently discussed efforts to create a new mechanism through which India can pay in rupees for Iranian oil, thereby bypassing American sanctions.

Despite US attempts at sabotage, Iranian-Chinese talks at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit went smoothly. Reuters reported, citing Beijing’s state media, that “Chinese President Xi Jinping told Iran’s president on Friday that China will promote steady development of ties with Iran no matter how the situation changes.”

At the summit, Rouhani also met with Putin, and called for closer ties between Iran and Russia.



Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted that Rouhani was in Kyrgyzstan for the summit, noting he had “Important multilateral dialogue” and “fruitful bilateral talks” with Xi and Putin.

“Unilateral US actions—incl. its #EconomicTerrorism on Iran—are solely responsible for insecurity & renewed tension in our region,” Zarif added.

In his speech at the Bishkek summit, Rouhani condemned the United States for international aggression.

“The US government over the last two years, violating all the international structures and rules and using its economic, financial and military resources, has taken an aggressive approach and presents a serious risk to stability in the region and the world,” the Iranian president said.

[B][U]Iran Embassy in Indonesia[/U][/B] Retweeted
[IMG]https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/773036427928010756/H28S3SV7_bigger.jpg[/IMG][U] [B]Hamid Baeidinejad[/B]‏ @[B]baeidinejad[/B][/U] Jun 14

World public opinions are very suspicious over US allegation that Iran is behind oil tankers attacks. People are reminding similar false fabrications during WW1, Vietnam war and Iraq war to instigate military interventions and armed conflicts in different parts of world.pic.twitter.com/k8CO4xtaxq
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
These idiots are just digging themselves - deeper into the hole! Now, they are trying to embellish the lie by showing grainy photos.

US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tanks June 17, 2019
US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers

This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday, June 17, 2019, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous. (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an effort to boaster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran's Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack. But it's not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the IRGC.

Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another similar mine.

The release of the photos came as the US works this week to convince members of Congress and allies that the accusations against Tehran are true.

Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign. Tehran, however, has repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world's oil flows.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he made a number of calls Sunday and Monday to international leaders, trying to convince them that keeping the Strait of Hormuz safe and open is a problem they all must deal with.


USA TODAY - Pentagon sending 1,000 US troops to Middle East after oil tanker attack
Pentagon sending 1,000 U.S. troops to Middle East after oil tanker attack
Pentagon sending 1,000 U.S. troops to Middle East after oil tanker attack

The Department of Defense announced Monday evening that 1,000 U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East in response to last week's attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, attacks the United States says Iran conducted.

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement.

The troops were authorized "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," Shanahan also said.

Shanahan in his statement said that the request for more troops came from U.S. Central Command, adding that he also consulted with the White House and got advice from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford.

U.S. military releases new images from oil tanker attacks
A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which is says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter in the Gulf of Oman in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran on June 13, shows mine blast damage to M/T Kokuka Courageous, a Japanese owned commercial motor tanker. Picture taken June 13, 2019.  U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

The U.S. military on Monday released new images it says showed Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) removing an unexploded limpet mine from a Japanese-owned tanker that was attacked on June 13 in the Gulf of Oman, as Washington blames Tehran for the attack.

France's Macron urges more dialogue with Iran, regrets announcements on enrichment
FILE PHOTO -  French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (not pictured) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he regretted Iran's announcement that it would exceed the allowed enriched uranium limit, but that Paris would hold talks with Iran and its partners to avoid any further escalation in the region.

“I regret the Iranian announcements made today, but as the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has underlined, Iran is respecting its commitments and we strongly encourage it to be patient and responsible,” Macron told a news conference alongside his Ukrainian counterpart.

Iran says it dismantled a U.S. cyber espionage network
Iran said on Monday it had exposed a large cyber espionage network it alleged was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and that several US spies had been arrested in different countries as the result of the action.

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on Monday: “One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies a while ago and was dismantled.”

“We shared the information about the exposed network with our allies that led to the identification and arrest of CIA intelligence agents,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster IRIB.

He did not specify how many CIA agents were arrested and in what countries.

Shamkhani said without elaborating that some information about the case had been released by the United States, so Iran could now publish the information for the sake of public awareness.

Also of note:
Russia thwarts U.S. cyber attacks on its infrastructure: news agencies
Russia has uncovered and thwarted attempts by the United States to carry out cyber attacks on the control systems of Russian infrastructure, Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying on Monday.

The disclosure was made on Russia’s RIA and TASS news agencies days after the New York Times cited unnamed government sources as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia’s power grid as part of a more aggressive deployment of its cyber tools.

The newspaper suggested President Donald Trump had not been informed of the intrusions. Trump, without providing evidence, said on Twitter that the article was not true.

The Kremlin had said earlier on Monday that the U.S. newspaper report was worrying and showed that a cyber war was, in theory, possible.

“We see and note such attempts,” the Russian security source was quoted as saying in response to the report. “However, we manage to neutralize these actions.”
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I sense the incident of sabotaging four oil tankers in Oman, in the Strait of Hormuz, on May 12th and this June 13th incident of two oil tankers being attacked - are the inspiration and game plan of the Israeli Mossad.
Why was there "a request" to send 120,000 troops? Maybe - to take possession of "the Strait of Hormuz" and from there - attack Iran directly?
"Almost all of these exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman before reaching the Indian Ocean."

"Achieving "consensus on Iran" and establishing security understanding between the Gulf States and the US will entrench the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the security of the waterway and they could eventually "own and control the route ...
and will benefit the State of Israel by presenting a buffer in the region."

June 17, 2019 - Gulf 'attacks' on oil tankers are a cover for a bigger agenda
Gulf ‘attacks’ on oil tankers are a cover for a bigger agenda

The attacks on two Japanese oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week have raised both concerns and exasperation in the region. Saudi Arabia, Britain and the US — of course — accuse Iran of carrying out the attacks; it has rejected the accusations. The US made the accusations without “a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence,” insisted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Twitter on Friday.

The US Navy said that it spotted Iranian vessels near the targeted tankers and released a video claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the vessels. However, Japan’s preliminary investigations suggest that “a flying object” hit the ships: “The crew saw it with their own eyes. The impact happened above the water line. The crew took evasive action but were hit again three hours later."

The US allegation is also questioned by many observers in the region, not least because US intelligence has been found wanting on several fronts over the years, including the misleading claims about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” which led to the disastrous 2003 invasion and occupation. Moreover, given the recent diplomatic contacts between senior Japanese and Iranian officials, these accusations are hardly convincing. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, was in Iran when the attacks occurred. It was a significant visit for both countries, given that, “The last Japanese prime minister to visit Iran was Takeo Fukuda in 1978.

Furthermore, it is believed widely that Abe carried a direct message from US President Trump to the Iranians following his own visit to Japan on 25 Mayfor high-stakes talks about trade and other key issues.” According to informed sources, included on the agenda "was the US readiness to engage with Iran." Iran is going through difficult economic and political times at the moment, so it is unimaginable that Tehran would jeopardize economic and political opportunities by attacking the tankers.

What’s more, Iranians boats were amongst the first to rescue the desperate crews after the attacks took place. A video has emerged on YouTube in which grateful crew members thank Iran for its assistance.

I believe that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman, and his mentor Mohammed Bin Zayed, his counterpart in the UAE have made specific financial commitments to Trump involving the purchase of billions of dollars’ worth of arms from the US. There are challenges in meeting those commitments. The price of oil, the economic slowdown and the increase in political and social spending within and beyond their respective countries top those challenges. Their sponsorship of the war in Yemen has further complicated the situation, as has the failure to push through with privatisation of Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, which Riyadh was hoping would raise trillions of dollars. The duo also backs the destructive war led by warlord Khalifa Haftar in Libya.

Given these commitments and challenges, they had to look for other ways to fund and meet their commitments to Trump. Thus, they have created an “imminent and present danger” which requires immediate regional action: Iran.

According to Wikipedia, “In 2002, the Persian Gulf nations of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE produced and exported about 25 per cent of the world’s oil, held nearly two-thirds of the world’s crude oil reserves, and about 35 per cent of the world’s natural gas reserves.” Those figures have increased exponentially since.

Almost all of these exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman before reaching the Indian Ocean. The Gulf countries will, therefore, be required to contribute towards securing the Arabian/Persian Gulf from the “Iranian threat” henceforth.

Achieving "consensus on Iran" and establishing security understanding between the Gulf States and the US will entrench the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the security of the waterway and they could eventually "own and control the route." If this scenario does materialize, it may have a negative impact on Iran and, indeed, Qatar, which is currently blockaded from all sides by its neighbors.

“In 2009, Qatar exported over 2.4 trillion cubic feet (68 billion cubic metres) of natural gas, 70 per cent of which was LNG,” most of which is transported through the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the entrenchment of the US, Saudi and UAE will benefit the State of Israel by presenting a buffer in the region and transferring the “Iranian threat” completely to its Arab neighbours. They will keep Iran in check and possibly act against it whenever commanded to do so. After all, being the “custodians of Sunni Islam, they could do as they please against Shia Iran,” whereas an Israeli attack against the Iranians could trigger a regional war.
Trump, Japan's Abe discuss Gulf of Oman tanker attacks
Trump, Japan’s Abe discuss Gulf of Oman tanker attacks
President Donald Trump, gestures as he speaks during a news conference with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, not pictured, at Akasaka Palace on 27 May 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. [Kiyoshi Ota - Pool/Getty Images]

President Donald Trump, gestures as he speaks during a news conference with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, not pictured, at Akasaka Palace on 27 May 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. [Kiyoshi Ota - Pool/Getty Images]

US President Donald Trump discussed with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe Friday recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Anadolu Agency reports.

The telephone call follows the conclusion of Abe’s recent visit to Iran in which he sought to diffuse simmering tensions between Washington and Tehran that hit a boiling point Thursday when the ships were attacked.

The leaders discussed the visit as well as the "circumstances surrounding the attacks," the White House said in a statement.

"President Trump thanked Prime Minister Abe for his effort to facilitate communication with Iran," the White House said.

Trump said Thursday it is “too soon” for the U.S. to engage in nuclear talks with Iran just minutes before Washington blamed Tehran for the attacks on the oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman, which is a critical waterway for the global energy trade.

Shortly after meeting with Abe, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks carried by Iranian state news agency FARS that he did not see Trump as deserving of a message from him.

“I do not consider Trump, as a person, deserving to exchange messages with. We will not negotiate with the United States,” he said, according to FARS.

Lavrov: Non-aggression pact between Iran and Arab states would be "useful"
Lavrov: Non-aggression pact between Iran and Arab states would be ‘useful’
Image of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that a non-aggression pact between Iran and its Arab neighbors would be “useful,” Anadolu reported on Tuesday. Lavrov was apparently responding to a proposal by his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, put forward during his visit to Iraq last month.

"Zarif's proposal on concluding a non-aggression pact between the countries of the region," said Lavrov, "... would be a first step toward an easing of tensions, and we view such an agreement as the right one,"

He added that the initiative was discussed with the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members and the US accuse Iran of attacking commercial vessels and two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia last month. Iran has denied the accusations.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Trump is "on the fence" with the decision - if he would back "the use of force" to protect the Gulf oil supplies. I imagine, the Israeli's and the Pentagon are probably furious that Trump isn't towing the line?

Trump creates doubt over use of U.S. force to protect Gulf oil
Flight deck of the U.S aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is seen as sailors swip the deck for foreign object and debris (FOD) walk-down on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in Arabian Sea, May 19, 2019. Garrett LaBarge/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.

Pompeo: U.S. President Trump does not want war with Iran
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies to the initial hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 11, 2019.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The United States will maintain its pressure campaign on Iran and continue to deter aggression in the region but does not want the conflict with Tehran to escalate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

U.S.'s Hook to meet European officials on Iran in Paris next week
FILE PHOTO: Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, speaks about potential threats posed by Iran, during a news conference at a military base in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook plans to travel to Paris next week for talks about Iran with senior British, French and German officials, a senior European diplomat and another source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Russia to Washington: Drop Middle East troop plan and stop provoking Iran
FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia told the United States on Tuesday to drop what it called provocative plans to deploy more troops to the Middle East and to cease actions that looked like a conscious attempt to provoke war with Iran.

Kremlin calls for restraint in Middle East after U.S. troop move
The Kremlin called for restraint from all sides in the Middle East on Tuesday and said it did not want to see destabilizing moves in the region after the United States announced it would deploy more troops there.

Iran says if it decides to block Strait of Hormuz, it will do it 'publicly': Fars
Recent attacks on cargo vessels have put the focus on a shipping lane responsible for about a fifth of the world's oil exports. But in reality, this place is a powder keg for a much larger confrontation between Iran and the United States, and the precedent for conflict stretches back decades. Matthew Larotonda reports.

Iran's military denied on Monday being behind attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, and said if it decided to block Strait of Hormuz, a vital gateway in the Gulf for the oil industry, it will do it publicly.

Don't open 'Pandora's Box' in Middle East, China warns
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a news conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (not pictured) at Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo

The Chinese government's top diplomat warned on Tuesday that the world should not open a "Pandora's Box" in the Middle East, as he denounced U.S. pressure on Iran and called on it not to drop out of a landmark nuclear deal.

Merkel: Iran must uphold nuclear deal, or face consequences
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference in Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Germany is doing all it can to defuse heightened tensions with Iran in a peaceful way, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding, however, that Iran must stick to the 2015 international nuclear agreement.

Iran will not wage war against any nation: Iranian president
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with tribal leaders in Kerbala, Iraq, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen/File Photo

Iran will not wage war against any nation, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, a day after the United States announced the deployment of more troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
 

goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Germany is doing all it can to defuse heightened tensions with Iran in a peaceful way, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding, however, that Iran must stick to the 2015 international nuclear agreement.
Maybe, possibly being forced to pressure Iran has something to do with Merkel's recent shaking episode. Some have to know the stakes are getting very high.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
June 19, 2019 - Saudi Arabia calls to secure regional waterways
Saudi Arabia calls to secure regional waterways
View of a crude oil importing port [REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo]

Oil tanker at a port [REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo]

Saudi Arabia yesterday called on the International community to take firm measures to secure the waterways in the region.

This came during the weekly session of the Saudi cabinet, chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The United States and some Gulf countries have accused Iran of targeting commercial ships and oil tankers in Gulf waters, a charge denied by Iran.

In response, Tehran has also offered to sign a Non-aggression Agreement with the Gulf States.


June 19, 2019 - Israel to cut $223bn from Ministries' budgets to pay for Defense Ministry
Israel to cut $223bn from ministries’ budgets to pay for defence ministry
Israeli Shekels [File photo]

Israeli Shekels [File photo]

Israeli government is to cut 800 billion shekels ($221.7 billion) from the budgets of its ministries and transfer the funds to the Ministry of Defense, Channel 2 reported yesterday.

According to an Israeli defense institute, the Defense Ministry needs more money to continue building the separation wall along the eastern side of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government is planned to approve the measure during the next weekly meeting which takes place on Sunday, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

In addition, Israeli TV said that the government would approve more cuts estimated at 700 billion shekels ($194 billion) after the elections in September to pay for the deficit in the budget of the Defense Ministry.

(Comment: $221.7 billion + $194 billion to the "DEFENSE Ministry" to build a separation wall?
They must be using Gold-bullion ... bricks? Nice way of camouflaging Military spending for more missiles, bombs, planes and Uranium processing?)

U.S. Navy says mine fragments, magnet point to Iran in Gulf tanker attack
An Emirati official watches members of the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet as they prepare to escort journalists to the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous tanker at a U.S. NAVCENT facility near the port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

The United States Navy on Wednesday displayed limpet mine fragments and a magnet it said it had removed from one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week, saying the mines bore a striking resemblance to Iranian ones.

Iran talking to Russia and China in case EU nuclear deal efforts fail: TASS

FILE PHOTO - Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council of Iran, attends the swearing-in ceremony for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for a further term, at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, August 5, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS
Iran is in talks with Russia and China on a possible settlement mechanism in case discussions with EU over a nuclear deal fail, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security council, Ali Shamkhani, said, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

Kuwait's ruler in Baghdad amid rising Gulf tensions

Iraq's President Barham Salih stands with Kuwait's ruling emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah during a welcoming ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, June 19, 2019. The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Handout via REUTERS

Kuwait's ruling emir arrived on a state visit to Iraq on Wednesday and is expected to discuss escalating regional tensions after attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

France, Germany to increase efforts to reduce Iran tensions, avert war: ministers
France and Germany will increase their efforts to reduce tensions over Iran, but time was running out and the risk of war could not be ruled out, their foreign ministers said on Wednesday.

Iran says it will not give Europe more time to save nuclear deal
Iran said on Wednesday it would not give European powers more time beyond July 8 to save its nuclear deal by shielding it from U.S. sanctions.

Iran's President Rouhani says scaling back nuclear commitments is a 'minimum' measure
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with tribal leaders in Kerbala, Iraq, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday pulling out of some commitments under the nuclear deal was a "minimum" measure that Tehran could adopt a year after the United States withdrew from the accord and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran says there will be no war with United States: IRNA
FILE PHOTO: Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Director, speaks to the media after his arrival at Damascus airport, September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

There will not be any military confrontation between Iran and the United States, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying on Wednesday by state news agency IRNA.
 

Windmill knight

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
As you have probably heard already, Iran has shot down a Global Hawk drone, claiming it was flying over its territory, while the US says it was in international airspace. Trump tweeted:



where we read:

A U.S. official told CNN that Trump will hold a meeting to discuss a response to Iran’s action. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper are both expected to attend the meeting. Meanwhile, National security adviser John Bolton will be holding another meeting with Pentagon officials, according to the CNN.

Following his early statement, Trump was asked by CNBC if the U.S. is indeed considering a military response against Iran. The president answer was “you’ll soon find out.”
However, Trump's tone is very different in this video:


My bet is nothing will happen, and if it does, it will be more of a symbolic gesture to reassert American might.
 

mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Trump became a Bush/Obama. After failing in domestic issues, notably the borders, he may fall into the temptation of a military adventure. Even if it's not an open war at first, it could cascade into something of that nature with time. After all, he doesn't control every aspect of US policies.
 
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