Trump says Iran 'written all over' tanker attacks

Tankers on fire in Gulf of Oman after suspected attack

US Blames Iran for Attacks on 2 Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman

Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord President Trump repudiated past year.

The United States has blamed Iran for an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, releasing video footage that it claims shows an Iranian patrol boat removing an exploded mine from one of the vessels' hulls. In response, Iran has accused the U.S. of aggressive behaviour.

Iran's oil exports, its economic lifeblood, have dropped to about 400,000 bpd in May from 2.5 million bpd in April past year.

Iran denied any involvement in the attacks and accused Washington of waging an "Iranophobic campaign" of economic warfare.

In a commentary accompanying the video, US Central Command (Centcom) said US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6.12am and 7am local time on Thursday - one from the Front Altair, loaded with flammable naphtha from the UAE, and a second from the Kokuka Courageous, which was carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Iran will continue scaling back compliance with a nuclear deal unless other signatories to the pact show "positive signals", the.

Speaking later Friday with Fox News, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about the video and Iran. "Iran categorically rejects the US' unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms", said the Iranian mission to the United Nations in a statement on Thursday. Just a day earlier, the president took the opposite view, tweeting that it was "too soon to even think about making a deal" with Iran's leaders. "I'm ready when they are", adding that he was in "no rush". The week before he reiterated that the United States must "lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments" to return to negotiations.

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Khamenei said that he "does not trust America" and he does not consider the USA president "worthy" of a message or reply from Iran. In a notable signal that close US allies are wary of Washington's position, Germany said the USA video was not enough to apportion blame for Thursday's attack.

Washington had on May 5 sent an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the region over Iranian "threats".

Japan's Trade Ministry says the two oil tankers carried "Japan-related" cargo, according to The Associated Press.

"We're confident, and there is evidence available", the defense official said.

Two oil tankers were hit in attacks in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, a month after similar attacks on four tankers in the region.

The U.S. Navy rushed to assist the stricken vessels in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of Iran, including one that was set ablaze Thursday by an explosion.

The movement of additional USA forces to the region is the Trump administration's latest effort to pressure Tehran over its support for weapons proliferation and extremist groups in the Middle East. They said there is no timeline for any decisions.

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Tensions have risen as Iran appears poised to break the nuclear deal, which Trump repudiated previous year.

One of the officials said the video came from a United States military aircraft that was recording as it flew overhead.

Both vessels suffered explosions, forcing crews to abandon ship and leave them adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

Mr Seko declined to comment on American officials blaming Iran, saying Japan is still investigating the incident, which occurred while Mr Abe was in Teheran trying to help ease rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. However, the president failed to specify whether it was there before or after the attack.

As the world awaited Washington's next move, analysts said it was hard to sort out the conflicting claims. The incidents come as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on an official visit to Iran.

The European Union called for "maximum restraint" and said further provocations need to be avoided. Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned after the meeting that, while it does not seek nuclear weapons, "America could not do anything" to stop Iran if it did. But if he responds overly aggressive to Trump he potentially destabilizes his own rule and his own regime.

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