Operator of tanker says sailors saw 'flying objects' just before attack

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The U.S. military said black-and-white footage filmed from a U.S. aircraft showed Guards on one of their patrol boats drawing up to Kokuka Courageous, after blasts struck both vessels, and removing an unexploded limpet mine from its hull. "It's very important that responsibilities are clarified", Guterres told reporters. Russia, which has close if sometimes strained links to Iran, warned against "hasty conclusions".

The strikes came days after a United Nations report blamed a "state actor" for mine attacks on three oil tankers in the waters of the UAE on May 13.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations rejected the US' claim.

Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated significantly since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

After meeting Mr Abe, he said: "Iran has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership".

The Islamic Republic says it's already quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, but United States sanctions have cut off Iran's ability to trade its excess uranium and heavy water overseas. "I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it", Trump told the hosts of his favorite morning show. "I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him, now or in future", Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it can not sell its oil due to USA sanctions.

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The U.S. assessment of Iran's responsibility for the attack, which forced the evacuation of the crews in global waters, was based in part on intelligence as well as the expertise needed to carry out the operation, Pompeo told reporters in Washington.

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

On Thursday, two oil tankers were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman, just outside the Strait of Hormuz which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the open seas.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the incidents as "suspicious" on Twitter and called for regional dialogue. Evidence was "circumstantial" according to Bellingcat. He called reports of mine attack "false", AP said.

Earlier in the day, four U.S. officials told CNN the U.S. had the images.

The US top diplomat said that in region only Iran had the ability to undertake such an operation. There will likely be doubts in Tehran as to whether this video is genuine.

The Norwegian-owned Front Altair ethanol tanker was hit by three explosions, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and remained ablaze late Thursday. The Press TV article from 2016 covers Iran's ambition to build a "fast battle ships cruising at 80 knots p/h".

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Later at 9.26am "the Iranians requested that the motor vessel Hyundai Dubai, which had rescued the sailors from the M/T Altair, to turn the crew over to the Iranian FIACs".

It was not immediately clear what befell the tankers, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which both suffered explosions, forcing crews to abandon the vessels, leaving them adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

The Kokuka Courageous was about 30km (20 miles) off the Iranian coast when it sent its emergency call. The tanker was carrying 25,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Asia. A mine doesn't damage a ship above sea level.

Why are US-Iran tensions so high?

In 2018, the U.S. pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015 that was aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear activities. In late 2011 Iran again threatened to block the strait in retaliation for U.S. and European Union sanctions that targeted its oil revenue. What are the key indicators that this is really an Iranian boat?

Media captionWhy does the Strait of Hormuz matter?

Two tankers caught fire in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday after a torpedo attack.

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