US Navy says mine pieces suggest Iranian origin

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 19, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

US Navy says mine pieces suggest Iranian origin

The United States sought on Wednesday to bolster its case for isolating Iran over its nuclear and regional activities by displaying limpet mine fragments it said came from a damaged oil tanker and saying the ordnance looked Iranian in origin.

Nathan Frandino reports.

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US Navy says mine pieces suggest Iranian origin

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday showed off fragments of a mine it said came from the Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers attacked last week in the Gulf of Oman, inflaming tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF AN EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE DIVE AND SALVAGE TASK GROUP IN NAVCENT, COMMANDER SEAN KIDO, SAYING: "What I can tell you is that the limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and it is also strikingly bearing of resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades." Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks, accusing the U.S. of warmongering, as Washington dispatches a thousand more troops to the region.

The standoff has raised alarms on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers on Wednesday heard from the official viewed as the architect of President Donald Trump's Iran policy, Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN HOOK, U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON IRAN, SAYING: "Those who've been able to see the intelilgence and you've mentioned many of those people all come away without any question that Iran is behind these attacks." But Hook faced skepticism from lawmakers, who worry the U.S. might stumble into war.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

TED DEUTCH, (D) FLORIDA, SAYING: "And our job in Congress is to make sure we do not put U.S. men and women in harm's way without a darn good national security reason." Tensions have been rising since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and imposed new sanctions on Iran's crucial oil trade.

In response, Tehran this week said it would resume low-grade uranium enrichment in violation of the deal.

But Hook told lawmakers the sanctions were working.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN HOOK, U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON IRAN, SAYING: "Our pressure campaign is working.

It's making iran's violent foreign policy cost prohibitive.

Iran has not responded to this in a diplomatic fashion.

It has responded to it with violence." Tehran has urged European nations to salvage the nuclear pact by shielding Iran from U.S. sanctions, warning it might otherwise scrap the deal entirely.

With the region already on edge, a rocket struck a U.S.-run oil facility in Basra, Iraq on Wednesday, wounding three people.

It was the fourth time in a week rockets have struck near U.S. installations.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though an Iraqi security source said it appeared that Iran-backed groups were behind the incident.

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