Amid Reports of Explosions in Gulf, Iran Threatens ‘Crushing Response’ to any U.S. Attacks


CHARLES BYBELEZER
06/13/2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned of a “crushing response” to any U.S. military attacks, but qualified that his country was not seeking war with the “Great Satan.” Rouhani made his statements alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is in Tehran to mediate between the Trump Administration and the Islamic Republic as tensions continue to rise in the Gulf. “There is [a] possibility of an accidental military conflict… [which] should be prevented at all costs,” Abe said. Indeed, reports surfaced early Thursday morning of explosions that affected two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, located off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The reported blasts come one month after four tankers were “sabotaged” in the same area, in an attack the U.S. has linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The latest incident follows the firing of a cruise missile at a Saudi airport on Tuesday, which wounded more than two dozen people and was claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. The Houthis have also perpetrated a series of attacks over the past weeks against Saudi oil assets within the Sunni kingdom. It seems, then, that Tehran is testing the patience – and limits – of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has ordered a military build-up in the Middle East and has promised to retaliate if Iran targets American interests or those of its allies. Meanwhile, the fate of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal remains up in the air, as European countries struggle to meet a Tehran-imposed July deadline to complete a financial mechanism that would allow for continued non-dollar trade with the Islamic Republic. Otherwise, the mullahs have threatened to nix the atomic pact and resume enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.

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