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Oil tanker attacks: Russia warns against blaming Iran

June 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Russia on Thursday called for normalisation with Iran and warned against accusing Tehran of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a news conference in the capital Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the situation should not be used to escalate tensions with Iran.

“We need measures to normalise the situation around Iran, we need to calmly and impartially deal with what happened, not to make hasty conclusions. […] We have recently seen a growing campaign of political, psychological and military pressure on Iran,” he said.

“I would take the opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, against attempts to lay the blame at the door of those we don’t like,” Ryabkov added.

The two tankers, the Marshal Islands-flagged and the Panama-flagged, were on their ways to Taiwan and Singapore from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

READ: ‘Suspicious’ tanker attack in the Gulf raises alarm

At least one of the tankers attacked near Strait of Hormuz was operated by a Japanese company, Japan’s Kyodo News quoted Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko as saying.

The tanker is operated by Tokyo-based Kokuka Sangyo Co., according to Kyodo.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said the attacks were “suspicious” for having been perpetrated during talks between Japanese premier Shinzo Abe with the country’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

However, late last month, the UAE said four vessels, including two oil tankers, were hit by sabotage attacks near its territorial waters, without blaming anyone for the attacks.

Saudi Arabia also said military drones carried out attacks on two oil pump stations on the East-West pipeline, which carries oil from Yanbu port on the country’s Red Sea coast.

Riyadh blamed Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the attacks.