Russia warns against ‘hasty conclusions’ about tanker incidents in Sea of Oman

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A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian news agency Tasnim on June 13, 2019 shows an Iranian navy boat trying to control fire from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, on fire in the waters of the Sea of Oman.

Russia has warned against jumping to conclusions about a Thursday incident involving two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, which the United States has claimed were attacks carried out by Iran.

“We consider it necessary to refrain from hasty conclusions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Two large tankers were hit by explosions in the Sea of Oman — also called the Gulf of Oman — on Thursday. The tankers were identified as the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

Shortly after the two vessels sent out distress signals, an Iranian rescue ship rushed to their help and picked up all of the crew.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly blamed Iran. President Donald Trump did the same on Friday. They claimed the ships hit a mine planted by Iran. This is while the Japanese operator of one of the tankers said it had been hit by “a flying object,” disputing the US account at least partially.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called for a thorough international investigation.

“We are concerned by tensions in the Gulf of Oman,” it said, urging all parties to show restraint.

Iran has strongly rejected the US allegation, calling the incident “suspicious.”

Meanwhile, Moscow thanked Iran for rescuing the 11 Russian crew members from one of the tankers.


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