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U.S. Says Will Defend Interests As Iran Dismisses Allegations Of Attacks On Ships

A powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage shows an explosion (L) and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019

The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to dismiss damning allegations about its involvement in attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, regardless of condemnation of the attacks by UN Security Council.

Tehran keeps dismissing charges by U.S. officials and some of its allies describing the allegations as "seditionist remarks."

While the video of Iran's alleged involvement have been broadcast on almost every major network, and U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused Iran of being behind the attacks, Iran's envoy to the United nations dismissed the allegations as "Iran-o-phobic psychological warfare."

Trump tweeted: "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman...."

As the video became viral also on social media, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt pointed fingers at Iran, saying there is no reason not to believe the United States' argument.

Russia and China have called on all parties involved to keep calm. Russia has called on the United States and regional players "not to rush to point fingers at Tehran."

The UN Security Council in its meeting on Thursday condemned the attacks and called for full impartial investigation of the matter.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Iranian representation office at the UN described the United States' call for negotiation with Iran as "satirical" and accused U.S. and its allies of conducting "seditionist conspiracies and covert operations in order to accuse others”.

Reacting to the attacks, many analysts and politicians referred to remarks by Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani who said on various occasions during the past months that "The Strait of Hormuz will not be safe for anyone if Iran cannot export its oil," reminding that Iran's oil sales have plummeted below 400,000 barrels per day in recent weeks as a result of tighter U.S. sanctions.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who is in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with Rouhani, taking part in a regional conference, has accused the United States of raising claims against Iran without providing supporting evidence.

He has not mentioned the video released by the U.S. showing what most probably is an Iranian boat next to one of the damaged oil tankers, removing something from its hull.

Zarif once again accused the B-Team (U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed Bin-Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu) of conspiring against Iran, as he says, without presenting any evidence.

He tweeted Thursday evening, "That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by @AbeShinzo—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran."

Referring to the fact that the tankers in question were carrying Japan-related cargo, Zarif accused B-Team of trying to sabotage Abe's diplomatic initiative to mediate between Iran and the United States.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Abbas Mousavi, however, said accusations about Iran's involvement in the attacks "caused concern," as the allegations "are not funny. Instead, they are alarming," he said.

Friday Prayer Imams on June 14 praised Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's rejection of any negotiations with the U.S. as the decision of a wise and smart leader. Khamenei in his meeting with Japan's Abe refused to send a message to Trump, saying negotiations with Americans will lead nowhere.

Iranian media during recent days said one of the reasons that brought Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe to Iran was Japan's concern for the security of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman which are lifelines for Japan and many other Asian countries for importing oil from the region. Abe mentioned his concern about the region's security during meetings with Iranian officials and in his news conference in Tehran.

While regional countries have been alarmed by mounting tensions, CENTCOM, the U.S. Forces Central Command in the region has said that the U.S. is not interested in a new conflict in the Middle East, but will defend U.S. interests and free shipping

Is The Boat From The CENTCOM Video An Iranian Boat?
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