Trump rejects Iran's denial about attack on oil tankers, pointing to video

Trump rejects Iran's denial about attack on oil tankers, pointing to video
© The White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE on Friday rejected Iran’s denials that it was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, doubling down on the administration’s assessment that Tehran was behind the strikes. 

“Well Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump said Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.” “It’s got, essentially, Iran written all over it.” 

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Iran pushed back on the administration’s claims that it was responsible for the Thursday attacks, calling the accusations “alarming.”

“We are responsible for ensuring the security of the strait and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday.

Trump pointed to a video the military released Thursday night that it says shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing a mine from a targeted oil tanker.

“We don’t take it lightly, that I can tell you,” Trump said.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSchiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' Bolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran Buttigieg: Not too late for US to be 'constructive force' in Middle East MORE, who first declared Iran responsible for the attacks, said the government’s conclusion was “based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

The attacks against the Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers follow alleged sabotage attacks against four other oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates that the U.S. also blamed on Iran.

The strikes raised fears that Iran may try to shutter the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a third of all oil traded by sea passes.

“They’re not going to be closing it,” Trump said. “They’ve been told in very strong terms." 

Tensions have skyrocketed between Washington and Tehran in recent months, with the Trump administration deploying a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the region in response to unspecified “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” coming from Iran.

Though Trump said he is ready to negotiate “when they are,” the president declared Thursday that it was “too soon” to make a deal with Iran to deescalate mounting tensions.

"They are not ready, and neither are we!" Trump tweeted.

The feeling appeared mutual, as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit this week, “I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him, now or in future.”