Israel responsible for oil tanker attacks: ex-diplomat

June 15, 2019 - 19:9

TEHRAN – Hamid Reza Asefi, a former Iranian diplomat, has said the Zionist regime is to blame for recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

On Thursday morning, two commercial oil tankers were hit in the Gulf of Oman, prompting the evacuation and rescue of dozens of crew members.

The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks.

In an interview with Iran Online, Asefi said Israel benefits the most from such accusations against Iran, hence “logically the Zionist regime is the agent of this incident.”

“I think the directing of such incidents in the region are done by the Zionist regime and this has no hidden dimensions,” he stated.

Asefi, who served as Iran’s ambassador to France and Foreign Ministry spokesman, argued that Israel intends to draw the Islamic Republic into a tense and anti-diplomatic atmosphere to justify its stance against Iran.

Pointing to Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe’s visit to Tehran, he said the oil tankers attacks were aimed at impacting the trip.

“I was surprised when the Foreign Ministry said the attack was suspicious, because there’s nothing suspicious about it and it’s clear,” he stated.

Soon after the attacks, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared in the State Department Briefing Room to significantly raise the stakes.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo said.

He cited intelligence, weapons used, the required expertise and sophistication of the assault and previous attacks to conclude it was the latest assault by Iran on “freedom-loving nations.”

Asefi rejected Pompeo’s rash decision to accuse Iran, arguing that it is not rational to think Iran would benefit from such acts while hosting the Japanese premier.