US secretary of state accuses Tehran of lashing out but Iran denies responsibility for early morning attack
The US military has released video footage it says shows an Iranian military patrol boat approach one of two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman, to support the Trump administrations claims that Iran was responsible.
The blurry black and white footage, taken from the air, shows a small military boat alongside the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, and someone standing up on the prow of the boat to remove an object from the tankers hull. The small boat then pulls away from the tanker.
US officials were quoted as saying the boat was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat approaching the tanker after it was attacked on Thursday, and the object removed was an unexploded limpet mine. It was unclear whether it was being alleged the Iranian sailors were detaching the mine in order to remove evidence.
Thursdays attacks ratcheted up tension between the US and Iran, which are locked in a volatile standoff after Washington imposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran in an attempt to force the renegotiation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The incidents also added to security fears over oil tankers travelling through the strait of Hormuz a chokepoint for the global oil and gas trade and appeared to have snuffed out a Japanese-led mediation effort between Tehran and Washington.
The US military also released a photo it claimed showed a mine on the side of the Kokuka Courageous and some damage to the hull.