Iranian mines likely caused UAE tanker blasts says US
Naval mines "almost certainly from Iran" were used to attack oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates this month, according to a statement by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, reported by Metro News.
Bolton warned Tehran against conducting new operations and said the "prudent and responsible" approach taken by the United States had made it clear to Iran and its proxies that such actions risked a "very strong" U.S. response.
The United States has increased its military presence in the region, sending 5,000 troops to Bahrain and deploying an aircraft carrier taskforce into the Arabian Gulf.
Bolton was speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi ahead of emergency summits of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Thursday called to discuss the implications of the tanker attacks, and drone strikes two days later, on oil pumping stations in the kingdom.
Tehran has denied involvement in either attack and Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed Bolton's latest remarks as a "ludicrous claim", Fars news agency said.
The UAE has not yet blamed anyone for the sabotage of four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, near Fujairah, a major bunkering hub just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering the drone strikes, which were claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthis who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in a four-year conflict seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"I think it is clear these (tanker attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran," Bolton said without providing evidence. "There is no doubt in anybody's mind in Washington who is responsible for this and I think it's important that the leadership in Iran know that we know."
He declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation into the attacks in which the United States, France, Norway and Saudi Arabia are taking part, but said those other countries and ship owners involved could do so.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Wednesday the attacks on UAE and Saudi oil facilities must be addressed with "strength and firmness" and more efforts were needed to combat the activities of the groups that carried them out.
Addressing a meeting of foreign ministers ahead of the summits, he said such attacks were a threat to the global economy, regional and international security.