Risk of war in Gulf not over | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, June 20, 2019


Risk of war in Gulf not over

Says Germany; US army says tanker attack mine resembles Iran’s mines; Tehran rejects attack allegations

There remains a risk of war in the Gulf as tensions surge between Iran and the United States, Germany’s foreign minister said yesterday, emphasising dialogue with all parties was needed.

“The situation is, as before, serious. The risk of war in the Gulf has not been dispelled,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said alongside his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris.

“We must do everything to make sure it does not come to this and therefore we are talking to all the parties,” Maas said. He added thqt such dialogue was necessary for a de-escalation and to seek viable solutions.

Washington has blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a charge Tehran has denied as “baseless”.

Iran’s defence minister yesterday “categorically rejected” accusations that Tehran was behind two tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, describing evidence presented by Washington as “unsubstantiated”, official news agency IRNA reported.

According to a US navy spokesman, the 21 sailors from the Kokuka Courageous abandoned ship after “discovering a probable unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion”, before they were picked up by a Dutch tugboat.

The sailors were transferred to the USS Bainbridge and US Central Command later released a video it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing the mine from the hull of the Kokuka Courageous, but it has not provided an explanation as to why the patrol boat allegedly did so while the US military was observing.

The US military in the Middle East said yesterday the Japanese tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week was damaged by a limpet mine resembling Iranian mines.

“The limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and it is also strikingly bearing a resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades,” Commander Sean Kido of US Naval Forces Central Command said.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have deepened since the US withdrawal as Iran has faced the crippling economic blow of renewed US sanctions.

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