'Ridiculous, dangerous': Iran denies US claims over Gulf tankers
Iran has denounced as "ridiculous" and "dangerous" allegations by the United States that Tehran was behind reported attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Al Jazeera reports.
The two vessels - the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned Front Altair - were damaged on Thursday morning as they were leaving the Gulf of Oman, the second such incident in four weeks that sent Brent crude prices up and heightened tensions in the region.
US officials late on Thursday released a grainy video they said showed a boat crew of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) drawing up toKokuka Courageous, hours after the suspected attacks, and removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull.
The release of the black-and-white footage came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US intelligence agencies had concluded that Iran was responsible for the attacks, without offering concrete evidence.
On Friday, in a TV interview on Fox News, US President Donald Trump said, "Iran did do it".
"You know they did it because you saw the boat," Trump told the "Fox and Friends" show. "I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it."
But Yutaka Katada, owner of the Kokuka Courageous, cast doubt on part of the US account, telling reporters on Friday that the vessel's crew saw a "flying object" before a second blast on the boat.
Calling reports of a mine attack "false", he said: "The crew was saying it was hit by a flying object … To put a bomb at the side of the boat is not something we are considering."
For its part, Iran rejected the accusations as the United Nations, Russia and Qatar called for an international investigation into the reported attacks.