By Pooya Stone
Evidence of Iran’s involvement in the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month, is set to be revealed in the coming days by the United States and will include intelligence that Washington has received from Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
Early in May, Saudi Arabia announced that two of its oil tankers were attacked by saboteurs near the UAE, with the UAE reporting that four ships in total had been attacked near the port of Fujairah, the world’s second-largest bunkering port. One Israeli navy official, quoted in Israeli media, said that the attack on the oil tankers offshore the UAE was “a pretty impressive commando operation”.
The US will present the Israeli intelligence and the evidence it has gathered on the attacks to the United Nations Security Council this week, but senior American officials have already pointed the finger at Iran as being behind the sabotage against the oil tankers.
On May 24, the Pentagon said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was responsible for sabotaging the four vessels at the Fujairah port.
Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, Director of the Joint Staff, said in a briefing: “The attack against the shipping in Fujairah, we attribute it to the IRGC.”
While US National Security Advisor John Bolton said last week during a visit to the UAE that the attacks were caused by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran”. This was confirmed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told reporters last week that he had seen the evidence about the tanker attacks that Bolton was due to present to the United Nations.
Secretary Pompeo said: “These were – these were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world.”
It is thought that Iran’s motive behind these attacks was to lash out against US sanctions on Iranian oil by targeting other suppliers of oil, whose tankers were sailing through the Persian Gulf. (Iran has on several occasions threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to make global oil prices soar in retaliation to the US sanctions.) And, of course, Iran would want to attack its old regional enemy Saudi Arabia through whatever means possible.
While the US sanctions on Iranian oil came into place in November 2018, the six-month waivers on the eight biggest buyers of Iranian oil expired in May, prompting a fresh wave of threats from Iran.