The Strait of Hormuz will remain open for all vessels, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CBS in an interview this Sunday, adding that Washington was considering its options on the evidently firm belief that Iran was behind the attacks on two tankers that stole headlines last week.
The Strait of Hormuz is the biggest oil chokepoint in the world, with millions of barrels of oil passing it daily, in addition to other cargos. As tensions between the U.S. and Iran have deepened since the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran, Tehran has several times threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz if pushed too far. So far, it has not acted on these threats.
The latest escalation came after two tankers were hit in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Central Command spokesman released a video purporting to show a patrol boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approaching one of the tankers where it “was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”
Meanwhile, the owner of the Japanese tanker that the U.S. said was on the footage they released today said the crew had reported “flying objects” just before it was hit.
Iran has categorically denied any link to the attacks on the tankers.
While an investigation into the event has yet to be concluded, the U.S. seems ready to strike: a couple of legislators have already called for military action against Iran, and Pompeo, too, told CBS that a military option has been discussed.
Now, the U.S. Secretary of State is on a mission to round up other governments to act against Iran. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and UK’s Foreign Minister have already thrown their support behind the idea that Iran was responsible for the attacks, but others are yet to follow and they may be reluctant to do so without more evidence of Iranian involvement.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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