- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

The United Kingdom’s top diplomat is publicly backing the Trump administration’s claims that Iran was responsible for attacking a pair of oil tankers traversing the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters that the U.K. plans to conduct its own independent investigation into the mine attack on the M/T Altair and M/T Kokuka Courageous, “but we have no reason not to believe the American assessment.”

“Our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally,” Mr. Hunt said in an interview with the BBC on Friday, according to Reuters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Washington had irrefutable evidence of Iranian involvement in the tanker attacks.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Officials from U.S. Central Command released video late Thursday of a Gashti-class Iranian patrol boat with members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) removing an unexploded limpet sea mine from the hull of the Kokuka Courageous.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Mr. Pompeo’s claims were an example of the Trump White House that had “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”

The claims, he added, were an example of the administration practicing “sabotage diplomacy” designed to undermine an ongoing diplomatic visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran.

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