Responsibility ‘almost certainly’ lies with Tehran, says Jeremy Hunt

Britain’s prime ministerial candidate Jeremy Hunt appears on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show in London on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 17 June 2019

Responsibility ‘almost certainly’ lies with Tehran, says Jeremy Hunt

  • “We have done our own intelligence assessment and the phrase we used is almost certain,” Hunt said
  • Blast-hit tankers to be assessed off UAE coast before their cargos are unloaded

LONDON/DUBAI: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned on Saturday there was a “great risk” of escalation in the Gulf, adding that Washington wanted the situation to end in negotiations.The two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran are being assessed off the coast off the UAE before their cargos are unloaded, the ships’ operators said on Sunday.
A Japanese-owned tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, and a Norwegian-operated one, the Front Altair, were attacked on Thursday and left ablaze as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman. Britain has concluded that responsibility “almost certainly” lies with Iran. Asked on BBC television about the possibility of escalation, he said: “This is the great risk of the situation that we are in. “Both sides in this dispute think that the other side wouldn’t want a war. We are urging all sides to de-escalate.
“Having spoken to President Trump, I am absolutely clear that for America they want this to end in negotiations. “Let’s see Iran stop its destabilizing activities in Lebanon through Hezbollah, in Yemen where they are firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf as we have seen. That is the long-term solution.”
The damaged Kokuka Courageous arrived on Sunday at a UAE anchorage site as Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being behind the attack. US President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it” — rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial. Hunt defended his assertion that Iran was “almost certain” to blame for the attacks.
“We have done our own intelligence assessment. We have got videos of what happened. We have seen evidence. We don’t believe anyone else could have done this,” he said.
The owner of the Japanese vessel said Friday in Tokyo however that the crew saw a “flying object” prior to a second blast on board citing two apparent attacks.
He added he believed initial reports suggesting a torpedo was involved in the attack were incorrect as the damage was above the sea surface not below water, which would have suggested a torpedo.


Emirates president says could take four years to rebuild network from virus hit

Updated 2 min 1 sec ago

Emirates president says could take four years to rebuild network from virus hit

  • The Dubai-based airline was flying to 157 destinations in 83 countries before it grounded passenger flights in March
DUBAI: Emirates President Tim Clark said on Monday it could take the airline four years to rebuild its network that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think probably by the year 2022/23, 2023/24 we will see things coming back to some degree of normality and Emirates will be operating its network as it was and hopefully as successfully as it was,” he said in a webcast interview.
The Dubai-based airline was flying to 157 destinations in 83 countries before it grounded passenger flights in March and has since operated limited services.