Iran says missiles strike its oil tanker off Saudi Arabia
Friday, 11 October 2019 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said Friday two missiles struck one of its oil tankers traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia, a mysterious assault not immediately corroborated that still spiked oil prices amid months of heightened tensions at sea across the wider Mideast.
There was no acknowledgement of the incident from Saudi Arabia, which in September had more than half of its daily crude oil production knocked out by an assault the U.S. blamed on Iran, something denied by Tehran.
All the attacks came after President Donald Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and impose crushing sanctions targeting Iran's crude oil sales and shipments. Iranian officials warned for weeks that if they couldn't sell their oil, neither would anyone else in the region.
"This latest incident, if confirmed to be an act of aggression, is highly likely to be part of the wider narrative of deteriorating relations between Saudi and the U.S. and Iran," private maritime security firm Dryad Maritime warned.
"It is likely that the region ... will face another period of increasing maritime threats, as the Iranian and Saudi geopolitical stand-off continues," it added.
The attack reportedly took place around 5 a.m. and damaged two storerooms aboard the oil tanker Sabiti, state media reported. It also briefly caused an oil leak into the Red Sea near the Saudi port city of Jiddah that later was stopped, state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The Sabiti turned on its tracking devices late Friday morning in the Red Sea, putting its location some 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Jiddah, according to data from MarineTraffic.com. The ship is carrying some 1 million barrels of crude oil, according to an analysis from data firm...
An Iranian government spokesman on Saturday called the apparent targeting of an Iranian oil tanker by missiles a "cowardly attack" and said Iran would respond after the facts had been studied. Yahaira Jacquez reports.
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