Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

UNSC talks on UAE oil-tanker attacks wraps up with no result

UNSC talks on UAE oil-tanker attacks wraps up with no result

A month after the attack on four tankers off Fujairah, a summary of preliminary findings of an investigation by the UAE, Norway and Saudi Arabia has concluded that a "state actor" was most likely behind the operation.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton publicly stated last month that "naval mines nearly certainly from Iran" were the instigators.

Meanwhile, the joint statement on Thursday did not mention, Iran's alleged involvement.

While blaming the Tehranian regime for the attacks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran was trying to raise the price of oil as Washington works to end Iran's exports of crude.

The investigation shows that the sabotage operations took place in a "sophisticated and coordinated" manner, by an actor "with strong operational capabilities, probably a state actor". No casualties resulted, but vessels from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Norway also incurred damages. Iran has been accused by the U.S. of being responsible.

UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh, and the Norwegian and Saudi Arabian representatives briefed reporters in NY.

The investigating nations also revealed the first photos of the damage to the tankers' hulls taken by divers, showing large holes caused by what USA officials have described to CBS News as limpet bombs, believed to have been stuck onto the ships by attacking divers for the May 12 attack.

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In a press statement, the countries said that the attacks required trained divers, explosive charges placed under the waterline, near the engines, so as to not sink the ships or detonate their cargoes, which indicated a knowledge of the design of the targeted ships.

The careful wording of the report could be an effort to not escalate the dispute with Iran over this incident, even though signs point to its involvement, including USA intelligence and Pentagon statements blaming the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Russia's Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov told reporters after the closed-door briefing that no evidence was presented linking Iran to the attacks.

He told reporters on Thursday that he was assessing Iran's stance.

A United Nations report did not directly accuse Iran of the strikes, but said it is it likely they were conducted by special forces using fast boats and divers to place the bombs, before making an escape. The ships were within UAE territorial waters off the port of Fujairah, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, a busy shipping lane through which a large portion of the world's oil supply passes.

On Friday, the day after the United Nations report's claims, the Trump administration hit Iran with new sanctions.

Regional tensions have spiked since President Donald Trump's administration reimposed sanctions against Iran after the United States unilaterally pulled out of an global agreement that eased nternational sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

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