USA releases video of Iran allegedly removing unexploded device from stricken tanker

Crude Prices Rise After Tanker Explosions In Gulf

"It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks", Pompeo told reporters.

Previously, the US Navy said it spotted Iranian vessels near the targeted tankers and published a video that it claims shows Iranian sailors removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the vessels. "You saw the boat at night trying to take the mine off unsuccessfully".

USA and European security officials, as well as regional analysts, have cautioned against jumping to conclusions, leaving open the possibility that Iranian proxies, or someone else entirely, might have been responsible for Thursday's attacks. "They've been told in very strong terms", Trump told Fox News.

Iran labeled the apparent attacks as "suspicious", as its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffed overtures by visiting Japanese leader Shinzo Abe to open talks with US President Donald Trump.

"They're not going to be closing it".

"They are not ready, and neither are we!" he said.

Already, Iran says it quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.

The images were released by Washington following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement late Thursday laying the blame for the attack at Iran's door. Tehran has denied all the charges. The land mass in the upper right hand corner is Iran.

A day after two tankers were allegedly attacked in the Gulf of Oman, the USA military released a video on Friday it said shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one of the stricken ships in an apparent effort to hide Tehran's involvement.

Iran has rejected the USA accusation against it as "baseless".

The US has blamed Iran for the attacks on the two tankers.

According to the USA account of events, United States naval forces in the region received distress calls from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair at 06:12 (02:12 GMT) and from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous at 07:00, following explosions, and moved towards the area.

"We hope all relevant parties remain calm and exercise restraint and avoid tensions further escalating, and hope all sides can jointly safeguard navigational safety in the relevant waters and regional peace and stability". The ship had loaded a cargo of naphtha in Abu Dhabi and was bound for Taiwan, a company official said.

One operator said it suspected its ship had been hit by a torpedo, while another shipping firm said its vessel was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.

Iran denies involvement and said it was alarmed by allegations that it was responsible for the attack on the tankers.

An Iranian Hendijan-class patrol boat "appeared to attempt to get to the Coastal Ace" - a tug that had picked up the 21 crew members from Kokuka Courageous.

"The US and the worldwide community stand ready to defend our interests, including the freedom of navigation", Urban said.

Reuters came out with the story quoting the United States military that doesn't prefer opening up new conflict in the Middle East but might not refrain from securing the national interest.

The U.S. and our partners in the region will take all necessary measures to defend ourselves and our interests. Inflation is beginning to spiral out of control, unemployment among the young is at epidemic proportions, and Iran is denied access to global credit markets.

In abandoning the nuclear deal, Trump said he wanted Iran to curb its nuclear work and development of missiles, as well as halt support for proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The company's president, Yutaka Katada, offered no evidence for his claim, which contradicted the U.S. military account. Moscow also thanked Iran for help in rescuing 11 Russian crew members from one of the vessels, the Front Altair. The tanker was carrying 25,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Asia.

Washington has dispatched the destroyer USS Mason to the scene "to provide assistance", the US Central Command said in a statement. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman.

Iran has placed the blame of the attack on someone looking to ruin Iran's relations with other countries, BBC reported.

The attacks resembled one in May targeting four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah. US officials similarly accused Iran of using limpet mines. The mines disable, but don't sink, a vessel.

Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said the latest U.S. moves were aimed at forcing Iran to negotiate a new deal that would also address its ballistic missiles programme as well as support for armed groups in the region.

Under the deal reached with China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and the U.S., Iran had agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

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