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World Reacts to Iran Regime’s Tanker Attack in Gulf

World Reacts to Iran Regime's Tanker Attack in Gulf

By Shahriar Kia

Following a terrorist attack by the Iranian regime on Thursday on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned that the world cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf and that all attacks on civilian vessels should be condemned, as the Security Council prepared to meet behind closed doors to discuss the attack.

This is the second attack on civilian vessels in the region in a month, with the US once again citing evidence that the Iranian regime was involved.

According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump was briefed on the attack and “the US government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation”. Other US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Ambassador to the UN Jonathon Cohen, have come out strongly to condemn Iran for these attacks, with the US Navy even releasing video footage of what they say is the Iranian Navy removing an unexploded mine from the side of one of the attacked tankers.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the attacks on the oil tankers and those against Saudi Arabia were “dangerous developments” instigated by those who wish to cause chaos in the region. Thus, he urged the US to “act against those responsible to maintain security and stability in the region”.

While he did not implicitly blame Iran’s regime for the tanker attacks or the missiles fired at an airport in south-western Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, it’s important to note that the Iranian regime is the party that has threatened oil tankers in the region ever since the US ended the sanctions waivers in May and effectively stopped Iran from exporting oil.

The regime vowed to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of global oil consumption flows, but the US vowed to keep it open.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that his country agreed with the US that Iran’s regime was behind the attacks.

Jubeir said: “We have no reason to disagree with the secretary of state. We agree with him. Iran has a history of doing this.”

Jakob P. Larsen, head of maritime security for BIMCO, the largest international association representing ship owners, said: “The shipping industry views this as an escalation of the situation, and we are just about as close to a conflict without there being an actual armed conflict, so the tensions are very high.”

Indeed, crude oil prices rose by 4% yesterday and Kuwait has put its oil facilities on high alert, with its foreign minister telling the UN Security Council that the attacks are a threat to international peace and security.

Meanwhile, the French and German foreign ministries called for a de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf region.