United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (June 13) that intelligence reviewed by US officials showed that Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a critical waterway for the transit of much of the world’s petroleum.
Mr Pompeo did not present any evidence of Iran’s involvement when announcing the findings at a news conference in Washington.
The assertion is certain to fuel tensions between the Trump administration and Iranian leaders that have increased since early May, when the White House announced military movements in response to what US officials have said is a heightened threat from Iran.
Mr Pompeo said the sabotage against the two tankers was only the latest in a series of recent violent acts by Iran.
“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security,” he said.
The rapid escalation of tensions in early May between the US and Iran took place at about the time that four tankers were damaged by explosions at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, near the Strait of Hormuz.
The violence that occurred in the same area early on Thursday, which forced crews to abandon ship and left one vessel ablaze, was similar to the incidents from May.