‘Is it diplomacy, Mr Pompeo?’ Iran recalls US history of false-flag ops, questions tanker attacks
The incidents involving two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week may have been carried out at the direction of the US, a top Iranian official implied, citing its record of using “false-flag” operations to justify wars.
The attacks on the oil tankers were “suspicious” and seem to be “supplementary” to economic pressure being applied on the country, Speaker Ali Larijani stated on Sunday.
“These actions and accusations are supplementary to economic sanctions because [the US] did not reach their goals through the sanctions,” Larijani said, as quoted by Iranian media. The official then apparently accused Washington of possibly being behind the attacks, citing “America’s historical record in the area” of false-flag operations.
He also mocked a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who urged Tehran shortly after the tankers incident to “meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not with terror, bloodshed, and extortion.”
“Is it diplomacy to start a face-off with a revolutionary nation with acts of economic terrorism, [sanctions] which they themselves call the toughest ever?” Larijani asked.
Is it diplomacy, Mr Pompeo, to renege on one’s promises in the nuclear agreement?
Two oil tankers, the Norwegian-owned ‘Front Altair’ and the Japanese-owned ‘Kokuka Courageous,’ were damaged by explosions on Thursday while sailing through the Gulf of Oman – the chokepoint of global oil trade. It still remains unclear what exactly happened with the ships, as conflicting reports suggested the use of magnetic mines, torpedoes and even an aerial attack.
The US, as well as some of its allies, were quick to squarely blame Tehran for the incident, but did not provide any solid proof to back up the allegations. Iran has firmly denied any involvement.
Despite the bold accusations and hawkish rhetoric – US President Donald Trump went so far as to call Iran a “nation of terror” – Washington maintains that it would like to stick to “diplomacy” in dealing with Tehran.
“President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war. We don’t want war,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, promising to guarantee “free navigation,” through the Gulf of Oman and nearby waters.
The official yet again promised to show some proof of Iranian involvement in the tanker incidents, insisting it was “unmistakable” that the country was behind the attacks. He mentioned “lots of data, lots of evidence,” adding that it will be publicly released, but gave no timeframe for the proof to emerge. Previously, a blurry video said to show an Iranian patrol boat removing “an unexploded limpet mine” from the ‘Kokuka Courageous’ was released by the Pentagon. However, US allies in Europe were not convinced, with Germany saying that the video “is not enough” to make a conclusion.
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