The Saudi crown prince laid the blame for the attack on two oil tankers squarely on Iran.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned Saturday that Saudi Arabia “will not hesitate to deal with any threat,” after accusing Iran of responsibility for attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.
“We do not want a war in the region … But we will not hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests,” Prince Mohammed was quoted as saying in an interview with the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
“The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese,” he said.
Thursdays attacks, on the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, came just a month after the United Arab Emirates reported “sabotage attacks” against four commercial ships off its coast in the Gulf of Oman.
The Thursday attacks caused a major hike in crude prices.
U.S. President Donald Trump responded to the attacks by saying they had Iran “written all over it,” and Israel’s Channel 13 news reported Saturday night that Israeli intelligence has confirmed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps did in fact commit the attacks, using mines and a torpedo.
Though Iran has denied any involvement, a video released Friday by the U.S. military purports to show IRGC soldiers detaching an unexploded mine from one of the oil tankers, allegedly in an effort to remove evidence.
Iran responded to the accusations by charging the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel with trying to “sabotage diplomacy,” further blaming the United States for waging an “Iranophobic campaign.”