Initial US analysis shows Iran likely behind attack on Saudi oil tankers – Washington Examiner
A preliminary U.S. assessment indicates Iran was likely behind the attack that caused “significant damage” to two Saudi oil tankers on Sunday, according to a new report.
A U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal that the early findings in the ongoing analysis show Iran was likely behind the attack that occurred near the Persian Gulf as the two vessels were attempting to head into the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.
Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih announced the vessels were attacked on Sunday along with at least two other oil-industry vessels. He also said that one of the ships was traveling to a Saudi port in the Persian Gulf to load oil that would head to the U.S.
Few details were offered, but Saudi officials said the engine on the tanker called Al-Marzoqah caught fire, leading to an explosion.
The U.S. official declined to say what the initial assessment means for the U.S. and a potential response going forward. The State Department has so far refrained from saying whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes Iran or its allies was behind the attack.
“The developments warrant sharing more information, and this was a very good and convenient opportunity to stop and do a signals check with his European allies, and also to meet with NATO and the EU for similar discussions,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran told reporters.
The incident coincides with the Trump administration’s decision to send the USS Abraham Lincoln, B-52 bombers, and a Patriot antimissile battery to the region in response to a “credible threat” from Iran.
Iran’s foreign ministry described the attacks as “alarming and regrettable” and argued that it would negatively impact maritime security, according to the state-run Iranian Students’ News Agency reported. The outlet also reported that Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called the attack “dreadful” and requested for an investigation into the matter.