Middle East/North Africa

Bolton: Mines ‘almost certainly from Iran’ damaged oil tankers

National security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday that naval mines “almost certainly from Iran” damaged oil tankers in waters off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this month. 

“I think it is clear these [tanker attacks] were naval mines almost certainly from Iran,” Bolton told reporters, according to Reuters. “There is no doubt in anybody’s mind in Washington who is responsible for this and I think it’s important that the leadership in Iran know that we know.”

The presidential adviser also reportedly characterized recent U.S. moves to increase military presence in the Middle East as “prudent and responsible” and said that similar actions could provoke a “very strong” American response.{mosads}

“I support what we are doing so far,” he said, according to the news service. “The point is to make it clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kind of activities risk a very strong response from the Americans.”

His comments came before a scheduled Thursday emergency meeting of regional leaders to discuss the effects of the attacks on the oil tankers as well as drone strikes on Saudi oil pumping stations. 

The UAE has not yet doled out blame for the attack on the oil tankers, which included two Saudi vessels, but Saudi Arabia has blamed the drone strikes on Iran. The strike was claimed by the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen who have been fighting against a Saudi-led group in the impoverished country. 

Iran has denied being involved in the attacks.

President Trump said last week that the U.S. would send 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter Iranian presence there amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.


Tags Donald Trump Iran John Bolton Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates

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