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Iran Blames U.S. As More Governments Accuse Guards For Tanker Attacks

File photo - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) speaks with President Hassan Rohani during a meeting with members of Iranian Assembly of Experts in Tehran, March 14, 2019

As more countries openly accuse Iran and its Revolutionary Guards for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, top Iranian officials, religious leaders and media mostly keep a low profile.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have been conspicuously silent about the reports on IRGC's involvement. Rouhani has mainly repeated the usual anti-Washington rhetoric since the attacks.

Majles (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani commented that the attacks were "suspicious", borrowing the word from an earlier tweet by Foreign Minister Zarif who has also remained silent, although he is known for being vocal on social media.

Larijani tried to accuse Washington for the attack by saying that "the United States attacked its own ships near Japan during the World War in order to pave the way for a war." If he was alluding to Pearl Harbor, it would be one of the most outrageous conspiracy theories voiced, even by the standards of Islamic Republic officials.

He added,"The attacks on the tankers complements the sanctions," but did not elaborate further.

, the chorus of accusation by U.S. allies against Iran became louder. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Kingdom have accused Iran of being behind the latest attacks after U.S. forces command in the region, CENTCOM, released a video that implicated Iran's revolutionary guards in the attack.

Iranian officials have not clearly and directly presented any evidence to disprove the video evidence, except labelling it "Iran-o-phobic psychological warfare."

In the meantime, the UK warned Iran on Sunday June 16 that its forces are determined to defend British assets in the region.

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in an interview with the BBC on Saturday defended his earlier assertion that Iran was "almost certain" to blame for the attacks.

"We have done our own intelligence assessment. We have got videos of what happened. We have seen evidence. We don't believe anyone else could have done this," he said.

Yet another report on Sunday said Saudi Arabia has called for "swift action to secure energy supplies" routes in the Persian Gulf area.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a tweet posted by the ministry, there must be “a rapid and decisive response to the threat” to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence.

In another development, Israel's Channel 13 TV quoted a senior intelligence official in that country as having said "Israeli intelligence assessments have concluded that the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) has been behind the attacks on Tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday."

Israeli TV had reported earlier in June that Israeli security officials had supplied U.S. officials with documented evidence about Iran's involvement in previous attacks on shipping in the region.

In a statement released on June 14, the UK government had said " It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military - the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."

The statement added: " There is recent precedent for attacks by Iran against oil tankers. The Emirati-led investigation of the 12 May attack on four oil tankers near the port of Fujairah concluded that it was conducted by a sophisticated state actor. We are confident that Iran bears responsibility for that attack."

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had said earlier that there was no reason not to believe the U.S. intelligence assessment about the situation. Condemning the attack, Hunt said: " Our own assessment leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran. These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region."

A day after the British government's statement, as the Sunday Times reported that British forces are to be deployed to the region to protect British ships, MP for Bournemouth and UK government minister at the Ministry of Defence Tobias Ellwood warned Iran in a televised interview that UK forces are determined to protect British assets in the region.

According to the Sunday Times, the British forces stationed in Bahrain will patrol the area.