Iran, U.S. dismiss possibility of war

Iran, U.S. dismiss possibility of war

The United Arab Emirates has announced that four commercial ships, including two of Saudi Arabia, were subjected to sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.

Fox News quoted a source on Monday night who said a USA military team has examined the four commercial vessels damaged by explosions off the coast of the UAE on Sunday and concluded agents of Iran or its proxy forces attacked them. It did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.

There were no casualties or oil spillages as a result of the attack but the ships suffered "significant damage", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.

Yemen's Houthi rebels said they launched seven drones against vital installations in Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis and their allies in Yemen since March 2015, targeting the Iranian-allied rebels with near daily airstrikes.

Officials at the UAE port of Fujairah said on Tuesday limpet mines, explosive devices attached to the hull of a targeted vessel by magnets, appeared to damage the ships.

The U.S. military has reportedly found that "Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies" were behind the attacks on four ships in the Persian Gulf over the weekend which could lead to a major escalation in conflict in the region. The ministry's spokesperson, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying there should be more information about the incident. Some reports have said the move of military assets were in response to credible intelligence that the Iranians were planning some sort of attack on US military assets.

"It fits their M.O".

"We have regular consultations with India on various issues and I'm here to have consultations with my counterpart on most recent developments in the region as well as our bilateral relations", he added.

"We believe that Iran should try talks instead of threats". He said the UAE had sought USA help in the investigation and Washington was glad to provide this.

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The U.S. earlier this month ended exceptions to sanctions on Iranian oil sales, prompting the Islamic Republic to threaten to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

He warned against "foreign seditious plots to upset the region's security and stability". Khamenei further stated that in line with the policy of "resistance", Tehran has chose to reject Washington's offer to negotiate a new nuclear deal. Iran has denounced Sunday's maritime incident and warned against attempts to destabilize the region.

The incident happened 140km south of the Strait of Hormuz, where about one-third of all oil traded by sea passes through.

The reports come as the United States warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as the U.S. is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to counter what it called "threats from Tehran".

Trump warned on Monday Iran would "suffer greatly" if it targeted USA interests after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East.

The Times reported that the president's top national security aides met on Thursday to discuss updated war plans with Iran. The narrow waterway separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.

On Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil added 78 cents to $62.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. France has a naval base in Abu Dhabi. Saudi shares lost 3.6%.

The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation denounced the "cowardly act of terrorism and sabotage" on Saudi oil pumping stations and said it was aimed at undermining the safety of the world's global energy supplies and economy. "They know a war wouldn't be beneficial for them", he said.

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