By Ben Norton
The Grayzone (6/14/19)
The Donald Trump administration’s evidence-less accusations against Iran have fallen apart within a matter of hours. But these US allegations did manage to disrupt an important meeting of Asian leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, where Tehran was hoping to make diplomatic breakthroughs to ease a crippling American economic blockade.
On Thursday, June 13, two oil tankers traveling through the Gulf of Oman on their way to Japan suffered from mysterious explosions. The cause of the incident was not clear.
The US government claimed without evidence that Iran was responsible for supposed “attacks” on the vessels. Trump administration officials accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of damaging a Japanese tanker with a mine.
But by the morning of Friday, June 14, the narrative had been debunked, with the Japanese cargo company Kokuka Sangyo telling journalists that the US government’s version of the story was simply bogus.
The Trump administration’s claims Iran attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were quickly debunked, with the ship’s crew saying it “was hit by a flying object.”
“The crew is saying that it was hit by a flying object,” explained the president of the company, Yutaka Katada. “They are saying that something came flying.”
“To put a bomb on the side is something that we are not thinking,” he added, in comments at a press conference.
The US military published video of what it claims is an Iranian boat crew removing an unexploded mine from the hull of the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous.
But the company’s president insisted in remarks reported by Reuters that it was not an Iranian mine but rather two “flying objects” that damaged the ship.
“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” Katada reiterated. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”
Reuters noted that the “tanker was attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which about one-fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle Eastern producers including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Kuwait as well as Iran.”
The company president added, “This strait is very crucial. Without this route we can not transport gasoline and heavy oil to Japan.”
Sabotaging Iran’s diplomacy with Asian leaders
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, shot back at the Trump administration’s allegations on Twitter. Zarif accused the White House of seeking to “sabotage diplomacy” and “cover up [American] economic terrorism against Iran,” without offering “a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence” to back up its claims.
Contradicting Trump Claim Of Iranian Mine Attack, Owner Of Japanese Oil Tanker Says ‘Flying Object’ Likely Caused Explosions
“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” said shipowner Yutaka Katada.
By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams (6/14/19)
During a press conference just hours after the U.S. released video footage that purported to show an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of an oil tanker, the Japanese owner of that vessel said Friday that the ship was likely damaged by a “flying object” and called claims of a mine attack “false.”
“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that operates the Kokuka Courageous tanker, told reporters in Tokyo.
Katada’s account of the attack appeared to contradict the Trump administration’s suggestion that Iranian mines were responsible for the explosions that damaged the Kokuka Courageous and one other oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
As Common Dreams reported Friday, major American media outlets uncritically propagated the U.S. military’s video footage and accompanying claims, despite widespread skepticism from independent critics and other nations. …
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- Will The Real Bombers Please Stand Up — Who is attacking oil tankers in the Gulf between Oman and Iran? So far, the answer is still a mystery. The US, of course, accuses Iran. Iran says it’s the US or its local allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Magnetic mines are blamed for the damage, though there have been claims of torpedo use. Last month, four moored tankers were slightly damaged, though none seriously. This time the attacks were more damaging but apparently not lethal. A few cynics have even suggested Israel may be behind the tanker attack in order to provoke war between Iran and the United States – a key Israeli goal. Or maybe it’s the Saudis whose goal is similar. The Gulf is an ideal venue for false flag attacks. One thing appears certain. President Donald and his coterie of neocon advisers have been pressing for a major conflict with Iran for months. The US is literally trying to strangle Iran economically and strategically. By now, Israel’s hard right wing dominates US Mideast policy and appears to often call the shots at the White House and Congress. However, this latest Iran ‘crisis’ is totally contrived by the Trump administration … Read the Rest
- Jimmy Dore: “Corporate News Pushes Iran War For Trump” — Jimmy Dore takes an irreverant hit on the Trump administration and corporate media Iran war sales job. Be sure to watch the Mike Pompeo video clip at the beginning: 18-Minute Video