Dubai – Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers which were to carry crude to the United States came under attack. Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih informed that the attack occurred near a port off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Iran is strongly speculated to be behind the attacks as it had threatened to disallow oil transport from Saudi and its Arab allies to pass through the waterways in the Persian Gulf while criticising the US sanctions. The western countries have expressed fears of the sabotage culminating into a major conflict.
The explosions took place at 6 am on Sunday near the Fujairah port in the UAE. Furthermore, the Iranian and Lebanese media reported of the blasts in the busiest port in the UAE even before the UAE government released any information on the incident. However, the UAE refuted the report stating that the explosions on the four oil tankers had not occurred at the port but in the UAE territorial waters at a distance from it. Of these, two oil tankers belonged to Saudi Arabia and were stationed in the UAE waters at the time of the blasts as they were to be loaded with oil to be carried to the United States.
Saudi and UAE have described the incident as sabotage. ‘The attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill. Nevertheless, it caused significant damage to the Saudi oil tankers’, the Energy Minister al-Falih said. Saudi and UAE have not directly accused anyone of the attacks. Likewise, al-Falih informed that an investigation had already been initiated into the incident. Albeit, the international media, analysts as well as the Middle Eastern countries strongly believe that Iran was responsible for the attacks on the four tankers. Only two days ago, the US intelligence agencies had warned of such saboteur activities.
Apart from the strict sanctions that the US imposed against Iran, Washington has also dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, B-52 bombers as also the Patriot missile defense system to the Middle East. Infuriated by the US deployments, Iran had threatened to assault the US aircraft carrier and other US interests in the Middle East. If Iran is not allowed to export oil, no other country in the Gulf will be able to do so through the Persian Gulf either, Iran had warned.
After that, the US intelligence agencies had cautioned Saudi and the Arab allies against potential attacks from Iran and Iran-backed groups targeting oil exports in the Persian Gulf. An Israeli news channel had published a story on Iran’s warning to attack Saudi Arabia. Iran is therefore said to be behind the sabotage.
Nonetheless, Iran has stated that it was not associated with the incident related to the Saudi oil tankers. Abbas Musavi, the Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said that it was a part of a conspiracy against Iran by the United States and its allies. Moreover, the United Kingdom has expressed fears over a conflict likely flaring up between the United States and Iran due to the saboteur attack.