Europe and Russia on Friday urged caution over the explosions on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking the vessels, further heightening tensions between Washington and Tehran. Speaking the day after Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, pointed the finger at Iran for the attacks on Thursday, which triggered a jump in oil prices, the US president said there was no doubt Iran was the culprit. “Iran did do it and you know they did it,” he told Fox & Friends in a telephone interview. Referring to a grainy video released by the Pentagon that the US claimed showed an Iranian military vessel recovering an unexploded limpet mine from one of the two tankers, Mr Trump said: “You saw the boat at night.”
However, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, on Friday rejected the allegations and accused Washington of being a danger to the Middle East. “The US government has turned into a serious threat to the stability of the region and the world over the past two years through misusing its economic, financial and military capacities,” he said.
France’s foreign ministry warned that the incidents were “fuelling the already strong tensions in the area”, adding that it was appealing “to all the actors concerned … to act with restraint and towards de-escalation”. Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas on Friday said the video provided by the US was not sufficient to prove that Iran was behind the attacks.
The Russian foreign ministry has warned against rushing to assign blame for the attacks, saying the US’s “Iranophobic” stance had “artificially” fuelled tension and urged all parties involved to show restraint.