Iran denies it attacked UAE ships, blaming Israel and US instead

Iran denies it attacked UAE ships, blaming Israel and US instead
Iranian officials denied US accusations on Tuesday that Tehran was behind the attacks on four ships in the UAE port of Fujairah, blaming Israel instead.
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Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif suggested that the US could be behind the attacks (Getty Archive)

Iran has denied it is responsible for alleged attacks on four ships at the UAE port of Fujairah on Monday, saying Israel or the US was to blame for the acts of sabotage.

On Tuesday an Iranian parliamentary official, Behrouz Namati, blamed "Israeli mischief" for the attacks on the four ships, which included two Saudi oil tankers, a Norwegian vessel, and an Emirati vessel.

Namati did not give further details regarding alleged Israeli involvement.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that he was worried about "suspicious acts of sabotage currently taking place in the region".

He said that "radical" and "extremist" elements in the Trump administration could have been behind the operation, adding that "we had earlier predicted that they will adopt such measures to provoke tensions".

Conversely, the US has pointed the finger at Iran regarding the Fujairah attacks, with US military investigators saying that either Iran or groups affiliated to it were likely to blame for the attack.

The US recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih previously said that the attacks on the two Saudi ships caused "significant damage".

Satellite images obtained by the Associated Press news agency showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

The Emirati foreign ministry said that there were no injuries or fatalities as a result of the explosions, and that no oil or harmful chemicals were spilled as a result.

A US official said that each ship had sustained a 1.5 to 3 metre hole in it, saying that Iran or Iran-allied groups had used explosives to create the holes but did not offer evidence to back the claim.

Arab military analysts have publicly doubted that an armed attack against the ships took place. Retired Jordanian General Fayez al-Duwairi told the Al-Jazeera TV network that "there was no evidence" that the ships were sabotaged.