Officials don’t believe threat from Iran is over after tanker attack

An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz were reportedly attacked on Thursday, an assault that left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA)
By  | 

(AP) Senior U.S. officials say they do not believe the threat from Iran is over, after oil tankers came under a suspected attack Thursday near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, the officials say the U.S. has photographed an unexploded mine on the side of one of the tankers and assesses Iran was responsible for the attack.

The photograph was expected to be made public later Thursday.

The officials say the U.S. will reevaluate its presence in the region, but there is not yet a firm plan to protect shipping in the geographic choke point.

They advise that a program to provide military escorts of merchant ships under consideration.

The acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says Iran should meet the United States with diplomacy, "not with terror, attacks on ships, infrastructure and diplomatic facilities."

Jonathan Cohen told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors Thursday at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's request that the United States assesses the latest tanker attacks to be "yet another example of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region."

He said the "litany of incidents ... demonstrate the clear threat that Iran poses to international peace and security."

Cohen said "no proxy group in the area has the resources or the skill to act with this level of sophistication."

"Iran, however, has the weapons, the expertise and the requisite intelligence information to pull this off," he said.