from Sputnik News:
The Pentagon earlier released a video, claiming to show an Iranian patrol boat removing a mine from the side one of the tankers targeted in the Gulf of Oman as “proof” of the US accusations that Tehran is behind the attacks. The Islamic Republic has strongly denied its involvement and urged Washington to stop false flag ops in the region.
Some European governments have refused to back the US allegations that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has, for instance, insisted that the footage made public by the US Central Command allegedly showing Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels’ hull was insufficient to corrobotate Washington’s claims.
“The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me”, Maas told reporters on Friday.
His point of view was stongly supported by Nathalie Tocci, a senior adviser to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who has likewise stressed that before blaming someone, “we need credible evidence”.
The United States’ second ally, France, was reluctant to take sides: it did condemn the attack, but refrained from saying whether it had looked into the US intelligence, any other evidence, or assessed CENTCOM’s video.
Just in: Pentagon video of what it says is an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. pic.twitter.com/XSxIPcyV6Q
— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) 14 June 2019
Meanwhile, the president of the Japanese company operating the tanker Kokuka Courageous, Yutaka Katada, has fended off the US narrative in comments to local media, saying that the vessel’s crew spotted a flying object before the explosion occurred:
“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship”, Katada said.
While some European nations try to distance themselves from Washington’s version of events, the UK government has backed up the US assessment, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist group by the Trump administration, was “almost certainly” behind the incident. Hunt as well called on Iran to “cease all forms of destabilising activity”.