Jeremy Corbyn Says No 'Credible Evidence' Yet That Iran Was Behind Oil Tanker Attack

The Foreign Office has said it is "almost certain" the state was behind the explosions.

Jeremy Corbyn has said the government should needs to wait for “credible evidence” before blaming Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The Labour leader warned Britain risked increasing the threat of war after the Foreign Office (FCO) said it was “almost certain” in its assessment that “a branch of the Iranian military… attacked the two tankers on 13 June”.

“No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible,” the FCO said, pointing to a “recent precedent for attacks by Iran against oil tankers”. the Press Association reports.

On Friday, the US released footage said to show an unexploded mine being removed from one of the tankers by Iranian special forces.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the attacks, saying they built on “a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region”, adding Britain’s intelligence assessment “leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran”.

But Iranian president Hassan Rouhani accused the US of “carrying out an aggressive policy and posing a serious threat to regional stability”.

Tehran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, earlier said the US “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence”.

Corbyn has has taken a similar stance to Zarif, questioning the evidence presented so far.

He tweeted: “Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

“Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.”

The comments are reminiscent of Corbyn’s response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal last year when he suggested “Russian mafia-like groups” could have been behind the attempted murder, not the Kremlin.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a deadly military-grade nerve agent and extensive evidence has since been presented of the identities, military records and links to the Russian government of the two suspects in the affair, and European arrest warrants have been issued.

In 2016 Corbyn was branded a “hypocrite” for criticising other countries’ dire human rights record while taking money from the Iranian government for appearances on the country’s state TV channel, Press TV.

The price of oil rocketed on Thursday amid fears of disruption to one of the world’s most important tanker routes as a result of instability in the region.

The suspected attacks came after four commercial ships were “subjected to sabotage operations” in the Arabian Gulf in May.

The FCO said a UAE-led investigation concluded that they were conducted by “a sophisticated state actor”.

“We are confident that Iran bears responsibility for that attack,” the FCO said.


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