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US official says Iran authorised 'tanker attacks'

The incident in Fujairah saw four vessels damaged [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2019

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A US official has said Iran gave its blessings for an alleged attack on ships in a UAE port last week.
A US official has said Iran is believed to have authorised an attack on commercial vessels at a UAE port last week, as tensions between the two countries mount.

The government official told Reuters that security experts believe Iran gave its "blessing" for the alleged acts of sabotage on four vessels in Fujairah last Sunday.

The source added that although Iran is thought to have encouraged militants to strike the four vessels there is no proof Tehran officials were directly linked to the incident.

There is some confusion about the alleged sabotage incidents on Sunday. Two Saudi-flagged, one Norwegian-flagged and one UAE-flagged vessels that were docked or passing near Fujairah port reported damage to their rears below the water line.

Emirati investigators initially said that the Norwegian-flagged MV Andrea Victory could have been hit with rockets or missiles.

On Wednesday, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that officials and international partners would conclude their investigation in the coming days.

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He urged caution but alleged that Iran was creating problems in the region.

"We need to emphasise caution and good judgment. It is easy to throw accusations but it is a difficult situation and we need wisdom, there are serious issues and among them is Iranian behaviour, which led the region to this situation," he said, according to Gulf News.

"Iran should know that there are huge concerns about their policies in the region. US procedures against Iran were effective."

A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, said that the country was ready for war with its "enemies".

"We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy," said Salami.

Salami became the Revolutionary Guards head last month and is viewed as more hawkish towards the US than his predecessor.

Iran has strong presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, where militia forces active in the two countries are thought to act as Tehran's proxies.

On Wednesday, the US urged its citizens against all travel to Iraq and flew out some staff from its Baghdad embassy due to perceived threats from Iran.

Iran has also been accused of arming and training Houthi rebels in Yemen. The group said it was behind two drone attacks on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

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