The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway said Thursday that a preliminary investigation into a coordinated attack on four of their oil tankers in an Emirati port last month was likely carried out by a state actor.
On May 30, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iran attacked the oil tankers in an effort to push global crude prices higher.
Of the four commercial ships targeted in the May 12 attack, one was flying a UAE flag, two were tankers owned by Saudi Arabia, and the fourth was a Norwegian tanker.
Furthermore, the UAE, Norway, and Saudi Arabia committed to keeping Council members apprised of further findings from the ongoing investigation and requested that the Security Council be seized of the matter.
Diplomats said the assessment of the damage to the four vessels and chemical analysis of the debris recovered revealed "it was highly likely that limpet mines' were deployed". Yet the four tankers in question suffered only superficial damage, with no casualties inflicted and not a drop of oil spilled.
Unsurprisingly, for the sake of its own energy- and shipping-dependent economy, the United Arab Emirates has sought to raise awareness of risk to ensure the worldwide community is helping prevent future attacks.
"While investigations are still ongoing, these facts are strong indications that the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor", the United Nations was told on Thursday.
The US has accused Iran of being behind the attacks but Tehran denies this and has called for an investigation.
"The #B_Team's boy who cries wolf is crying once again: this time Mossad is fabricating intelligence about Iran's involvement in sabotage in Fujairah".
'Caution and good judgment'The UAE first reported the alleged sabotage on the four ships on 12 May, about a week after American officials warned that Iran was ostensibly preparing attacks in the region. "We have no hesitation in making this statement", said the Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi.
The four tankers were attacked using "naval mines nearly certainly from Iran", he told a press conference.
The top commander of US forces in the Mideast says Iran appears to have made a decision to "step back and recalculate" in response to a USA military buildup in the Persian Gulf area.
McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he is assessing Iran's stance.
"We shouldn't jump to conclusions", Safronkov said.
Regional tensions have spiked since President Donald Trump's administration reimposed sanctions against Tehran after the United States pulled out of a landmark multinational nuclear deal with Iran.
Meanwhile, citing intelligence suggesting a heightened threat to USA personnel and interests in Syria and Iraq from Iran or the groups it backs in the region, the White House ordered a US aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers to the region.