The Gulf of Oman attack threw gas on already fiery US-Iran tensions – now the world may have to pay the price

It is difficult to see any easy path to defusing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Relations are close to an all-time low, and the total lack of dialogue and understanding between the two is yet another obstacle to peace in the Middle East

Friday 14 June 2019 18:16
Tanker ablaze in the Gulf of Oman

Who is responsible for the destruction of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, putting 60 lives at risk and further destabilising the region?

It is probably the same people behind the mining of four vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on 12 May. According to the UAE and the United States – which has a substantial naval presence in the area – it is the work of a “state actor”, very likely Iran. The Iranians deny the charge.

Further forensic examination and the involvement of the United Nations Security Council may yield more clues and provide better grounds for suspecting Iran. However, in this context, it almost doesn’t matter who was behind the sabotage. In a region where truth is seldom glimpsed at the best of times, myths, legends and conspiracies can prove every bit as powerful as fact. If the Americans and their UAE and Saudi allies think the Iranians did it, then that is enough for them to ratchet up their aggression towards Iran.

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