Corbyn urges UK to refrain from escalating Gulf tensions

Corbyn urges UK to refrain from escalating Gulf tensions without 'credible evidence'
3 min read
15 June, 2019
UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for 'credible evidence' that Iran was behind the June 13 attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned that allegations against Iran increase the chance of war [Getty]
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the United Kingdom's government to refrain from further escalating tensions with Iran without "credible evidence" that Tehran was responsible for the oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

The Labour Party leader warned this increased the chance of war, Press Association reported, after the Foreign Office (FCO) said on Friday that Iran was "almost certainly" behind the 13 June tanker attacks.

In the FCO statement, UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt announced that the results of an independent investigation matched the US assessment that Iran was responsible for reported explosions that led to serious damage of two tankers on Thursday.

"I condemn yesterday's attacks on two vessels in the Gulf of Oman. Our own assessment leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran," Hunt said in a statement released by the foreign office.

"These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region."

The foreign office statement added that it believed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were behind the 13 June events, saying that no other state or non-state actors could be responsible.

"In targeting civilian shipping, international norms have been violated. It is essential that tankers and crews are able to pass through international waters safely," Hunt added.

"We call on Iran urgently to cease all forms of destabilising activity. The UK remains in close coordination with international partners to find diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions."

Video released by Iranian state media showed smoke billowing from two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, with at least one of those on fire.

Iranian naval units rescued the crews of the ships after they made a mayday call following the explosions.

The crew of a Japanese ship reported a "flying object" during the attack.

"The crew members are saying that they were hit by a flying object. They saw it with their own eyes," Yutaka Katada, head of Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, told reporters.

"We have received a report saying that something seems to have flew in, there was an explosion and it created a hole in the body of the ship," he added.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks saying US accusations were "baseless", and that its troops witnessed the event and saved the crew.

The US has accused Tehran, with President Donald Trump saying it "Iran written all over it".

"Iran did do it," Trump said in an interview on "Fox and Friends," after the US military released footage it claimed showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an "unexploded limpet mine" from one of the tankers.

"You know they did it because you saw the boat," Trump said. "I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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