President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down in accusing Iran of executing explosions on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, saying the incident had Iran “written all over it.”
However, as US-Iranian tensions soared, Trump dismissed previous threats by Tehran that in case of conflict it could block the Hormuz Strait — a narrow seaway vital to the world’s oil supplies.
“They’re not going to be closing it,” he said in an interview on Fox News television.
Speaking hours after the US military released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from one of the tankers, Trump said “Iran did do it.”
“You know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump told the “Fox and Friends” show.
“I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it.”
“You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off — and that was exposed,” he added.
Iran rejects the US accusations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the US had “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”
He accused Washington of seeking to “sabotage diplomacy” as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran. One of the targeted vessels is owned by a Japanese company while the other was Norwegian-operated.
Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the far more powerful United States.
Doing so, would disrupt traffic of oil tankers between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, which leads to the Indian Ocean and global export routes.
“If the hostility of enemies increase, we will be able to do so,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Mohammad Bagheri, told semi-official ISNA in April.
Trump played down the threat.
“It’s not going to be closed, it’s not going to be closed for long and they know it. They’ve been told in very strong terms,” Trump told Fox News.
Ex-cops indicted in fatal shooting of Black woman and ‘public torture’ of Black man in separate incidents
Two former Mississippi police officers were indicted in the brutal beating of a Black motorist, and one of them was also charged in an unrelated fatal shooting.
Wade Robertson, 28, and Bryce Gilbert, 27, were charged with aggravated assault in the 2018 beating of James Barnett, and Robertson was also charged with manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of Dominique Henry, reported The Laurel Leader-Call.
Quarantine, racial strife, Trump have Michelle Obama feeling down
Former First Lady Michelle Obama said she is suffering from "low-grade depression" from coronavirus quarantine, racial strife in the United States and the "hypocrisy" of the Trump administration.
Obama made the remarks in the latest episode of "The Michelle Obama Podcast" released on Spotify on Wednesday.
"I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness," the 56-year-old former First Lady said.
"I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low," she said.
Another watchdog at US State Department abruptly gone
The internal watchdog looking into accusations against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly quit Wednesday, just months after his predecessor was fired.
The State Department's acting inspector general, Stephen Akard, is a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence and his installation in May had widely been seen as a way to keep a friendly figure in the role.
Akard informed colleagues that he is "returning to the private sector after years of public service," a State Department spokesperson said.
"We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country."
But Akard's departure comes just as his office finalizes a report on Pompeo's controversial decision to bypass Congress to sell $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies.