US shares new images of Iranian activity after tanker attack

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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which is says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter in the Gulf of Oman in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran on June 13, shows personnel that the Pentagon says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy leaving after removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous, a Japanese owned commercial motor tanker. (Reuters)
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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which the Pentagon says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter, shows what the Navy says are the remnants of the magnetic attachment device of an unexploded limpet mine on the side of the Japanese owned motor tanker Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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This image released on June 17, 2019 by the US Department of Defense in a press release is presented as a new evidence incriminating Iran in the June 13 tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. (AFP)
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Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker is anchored offshore of the port of Fujairah in a satellite overview image over the United Arab Emirates, June 17, 2019. (Reuters)
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This image released on June 17, 2019 by the US Department of Defense in a press release is presented as a new evidence incriminating Iran in the June 13 tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. (AFP)
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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17 shows what the Navy says is the hull penetration and blast damage on the starboard side of the Japanese owned motor tanker vessel Kokuka Courageous, which was sustained from a June 13 limpet mine attack while operating in the Gulf of Oman and photographed by the U.S. military the following day on June 14, 2019. Picture taken June 14, 2019. (Reuters)
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New images add to a video released last week showing Iranian involvment in the attacks on the ships. (US Navy)
Updated 18 June 2019

US shares new images of Iranian activity after tanker attack

  • Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence, said the Pentagon

WASHINGTON: The United States military on Monday released new photos it says incriminate Iran in an attack last week on a tanker ship in strategic Gulf waters.
The US argument centers on an unexploded limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous ship it says was removed by Iranians on a patrol boat.
“Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine,” the Pentagon said in a statement accompanying the imagery.
The US released a grainy black and white video last week it said showed the Iranians removing the mine, but has not provided an explanation for why they allegedly did so while the US military was observing them.
One of the photos released Monday shows what the Pentagon described as “the remnants of the magnetic attachment device of (an) unexploded limpet mine,” while others picture the place where the mine was allegedly attached.
Additional images picture damage from what the US says was a limpet mine that did explode on the same ship, and others are said to show the Iranians removing the unexploded mine and the patrol boat they traveled on.


US considering troop boost to counter Iran

Updated 06 December 2019

US considering troop boost to counter Iran

  • A source has said Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East
  • Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions

WASHINGTON: The United States said Thursday it was considering deploying fresh forces to counter Iran, with an official saying some 5,000 to 7,000 troops could head to the region.
Testifying before Congress, John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, said the United States was “observing Iran’s behavior with concern.”
“We’re continuing to look at that threat picture and have the ability to dynamically adjust our force posture,” Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A US official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East.
The official did not confirm where the troops would be sent, or in what timeframe, but said that the deployment would be due to frustrations with Iranian-linked groups’ attacks on US assets.
Rood, under questioning, denied a report by The Wall Street Journal the United States was considering sending 14,000 more troops — equivalent to the number sent over the past six months.
Esper also denied the 14,000 figure in a phone call with Senator Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the committee, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said.
US President Donald Trump later tweeted that: “The story today that we are sending 12,000 troops to Saudi Arabia is false or, to put it more accurately, Fake News!“
It was not immediately clear which report the president was referring to.
Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions, including trying to block all its oil exports.
In September, the United States said Iran was responsible for attacks on the major Abqaiq oil processing center in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally and Iran’s regional rival.
Riyadh then asked Washington for reinforcements, receiving two fighter squadrons, additional missile defense batteries, and bringing the number of US troops stationed in the Kingdom to about 3,000.
The United States has also been alarmed by an uptick in attacks on bases in Iraq, where major demonstrations triggered by economic discontent have also targeted Iran’s clerical regime and its overwhelming influence in its Shiite-majority neighbor.
“We’re lucky no one has been killed. There is a spike in rocket attacks,” another US official said.
“It’s clearly not Daesh. Everything is going in the right direction and it’s the right range,” the official said, contrasting Iranian capabilities with those of the extremist Daesh group.
Among the incidents, five rockets hit the Al-Asad Air Base on Tuesday, just four days after US Vice President Mike Pence visited US troops there.
Iran denied involvement in the September attack in Saudi Arabia, which was claimed by Tehran-backed Houthi militia.
The tensions come as Iran itself has faced major protests set off by a sharp hike in gas prices.