UAE says Gulf tanker attacks ‘dangerous escalation’

Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, also condemned the Houthi militia missile attack which wounded 26 civilians at an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2019
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UAE says Gulf tanker attacks ‘dangerous escalation’

  • ‘The responsibility for avoiding an escalation is collective’
  • Gargash also condemned the Houthi militia missile attack which wounded 26 civilians at Abha Airport

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates said Friday that twin attacks on tankers in the Sea of Oman just weeks after four ships were damaged off the UAE marked a “dangerous escalation.”
“The attack against the tankers in the Gulf of Oman is a worrying development and a dangerous escalation,” the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted after Thursday’s blasts.
Gargash also condemned the Houthi militia missile attack which wounded 26 civilians at an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
He said the “blatant attack on civilians” was only the latest in a spate of rebel assaults “undermining the UN’s political work and sending a message of continuing violence and hostility.”
These developments “must spur the international community to act to maintain peace and security in the region,” Gargash said.
“The responsibility for avoiding an escalation is collective.”


The two tankers, one Norwegian-operated and one Japanese-owned, were set ablaze in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran on Thursday, escalating tensions across the region and sending world oil prices soaring.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was strong evidence of Iran’s culpability, after US Central Command reported seeing an Iranian patrol boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from the hull of one of the vessels.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif charged that the US administration had “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”

He accused it of seeking to “sabotage diplomacy” as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tehran in a bid to ease Iran-US tensions.

In a subsequent tweet, Gargash said Zarif’s “credibility (is) diminishing.”

"Every single day Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif’s reference to team B becomes more farcical and his credibility diminishing," Gargash tweeted. "Public relations is no real substitute to constructive policies. De-escalation in current situation requires wise actions not empty words."


Thursday’s incidents came a month after four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged in still unexplained attacks off the nearby UAE port of Fujairah.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”