Guterres calls for independent investigation of attacks on tankers

Oil prices slip as economic worries outweigh tanker tensions

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working the phones to convince wary leaders in Asia and Europe that Iran was behind alleged attacks on shipping in a key Middle East oil route - and that it's a problem for the whole global community to deal with, not just the United States.

But the leading official underscored President Trump said he does not want to go to war.

Iran has rejected the US accusation it is responsible for the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese ships, one transporting oil and the other chemicals.

Tensions have risen to new heights after the two tankers were attacked on June 13, a month after four others were targeted off the coast of the nearby United Arab Emirates.

He also tied Iran to a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on a crucial Saudi oil pipeline around the same time. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Kingdom have accused Iran of being behind the latest attacks after USA forces command in the region, CENTCOM, released a video that implicated Iran's revolutionary guards in the attack.

Britain's ambassador to Iran on Sunday denied he was summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry after London accused Tehran of "almost certainly" being responsible for tanker attacks in the Gulf.

Iran responded to the accusations by charging the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel with trying to "sabotage diplomacy", further blaming the United States for waging an "Iranophobic campaign".

In his interview with the Fox News Sunday program, Pompeo said that intelligence officials have "lots of data, lots of evidence" tying Iran to the attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

"We remain hopeful in attaining a broader framework for cooperation with Iran", he said at a summit in Bulgaria.

The US military released a video it claiming to show Iran removing an unexploded mine from one of the two ships, the Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous.

The Saudi crown prince went on to reiterate his support for the re-imposition of the United States sanctions against Iran. We don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

Japanese officials say Tokyo has dismissed a claim by the United States that Iran attacked two oil tankers - both of them carrying "Japanese-related" cargo - in the Sea of Oman.

In an interview with the Saudi-funded newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday, bin Salman unleashed criticism against Iran and its proxies for triggering violence in the region. "These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region".

Mr Pompeo, who led the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming secretary of state, promised to provide further evidence of Iran's role in the attacks.

"Such incidents can undermine the foundations of the world economy". Britain, at odds with Washington over how to handle Iran, acknowledges the United States policy of applying maximum economic pressure is taking a huge toll on Iran and has pushed the country close to insolvency. He said that unfounded accusations should not be considered.

The US believe the missile used was a SA-6, a Soviet era low-to-medium-altitude surface-to-air missile system in use since the 1960s.

The attacks have raised fears of a confrontation in the vital oil shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz at a time of increased tension between Iran and the US.

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