Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman.
Following up on claims by United States officials that Iran was behind the attacks on a pair of tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, Central Command released a video on Thursday night through the Associated Press, claiming the video showed Iran removing an unexploded explosive mine from the tanker.
Global benchmark Brent crude was little changed at US$61.35 (S$83.92) a barrel during early Friday trading in Asia, holding Thursday's 2.2 per cent gain.
The United States blamed Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, 13 June, that drove up oil prices LCOc1 and raised concerns about a new US-Iranian confrontation, but Tehran bluntly denied the allegation.
In Yemen, this conflict has had devastating consequences for more than four years as Saudi and Emirati - backed with USA bombs - forces try to take back control of the nation from Houthi rebels aligned with Iran. But, the class of vessel, what the US military has called a fast inshore attack craft (FIAC), was the same type of ship used by Iran to harass American warships in the Persian Gulf in recent years. He described the ships as being hit in a "reported attack", without elaborating. It did not offer a cause for the incident or mention the second ship.
Front Altair was headed to Taiwan, while Kokuka's destination was Singapore.
An unexploded device, believed to be a limpet mine, was spotted on the side of the Japanese tanker, a USA official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. Its crew of 23 is safe after being evacuated by the nearby Hyundai Dubai vessel, it said.
The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking.
"The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole", Katada said. "The supreme leader's government that insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese owned an oil tanker just outside of Iranian waters threatening the lives of the entire crew creating a maritime emergency". Japan's Trade Ministry said the two vessels had "Japan-related cargo". Iran called on "the worldwide community to live up to its responsibilities in preventing the reckless and unsafe policies and practices of the U.S. and its regional allies in heightening the tensions in the region". The kingdom said a similar attack Wednesday on the Abha airport wounded 26 people.
A statement published by Khamenei's website after Abe's meeting Thursday with the supreme leader suggested a tense exchange between the two.
"We do not doubt your sincerity and goodwill".
"I would like to give you a message from the President of the United States", Abe told Khamenei at the start of their meeting, according to Khamenei's office.
Iran said it would not respond to Trump's overture, the substance of which was not made public.
"It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks", he said in Washington, DC.
Washington has dispatched the destroyer USS Mason to the scene "to provide assistance", CENTCOM said in a statement.
Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that President Donald Trump repudiated previous year.
The US also called Thursday for the UN Security Council to confront the "clear threat" posed by Iran, as the council met behind closed doors to hear a briefing on Washington's assessment that Tehran was responsible. Western powers feared Iran's atomic program could allow it to build nuclear weapons, although Iran long has insisted its program was for peaceful purposes.
"Today, tension is rising in the Middle East".
He accused it of seeking to "sabotage diplomacy" amid a visit to Iran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and "cover up its economic terrorism against Iran" in enforcing crippling unilateral sanctions.
Already, Iran says it quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.
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