US’ Bolton says Iran behind attacks on oil tankers

ABU DHABI (AA): US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday accused Iran of being behind attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) early this month.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, Bolton said the attacks took place “by naval mines almost certainly from Iran”.

Bolton pointed out that there was another failed Iranian attack on Yanbu seaport in Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said four vessels, including two oil tankers, were hit by sabotage attacks near its territorial waters, but without blaming anyone for the attacks.

Saudi Arabia also said military drones carried out attacks on two oil pump stations on the East-West pipeline, which carries oil from Eastern Province to Yanbu port in the Red Sea.

Riyadh has blamed Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the attacks.

Meanwhile, Bolton accused Tehran of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

“There is no reason” for Iran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal rather than its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Bolton said citing Tehran’s pursuit to uranium enrichment.

He said that Iran did not limit its “terrorist” activities in the region.

Bolton arrived in the UAE late Tuesday for talks on regional security issues.

On Friday, the Pentagon blamed Iran and its proxy forces for the attacks on oil tankers and oil installations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The accusation came the same day U.S. President Donald Trump announced the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East.

Last month, the U.S. designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces, as a terrorist organization. Iran retaliated by naming U.S. Central Command a terror group, setting up the potential for a military clash between the two sides in the Middle East.