The US Navy has released new photos of the aftermath of the attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The images are said to show an Iranian speedboat, approaching one of the vessels to remove an unexploded limpet mine.
The new images show the same episode earlier featured in a very low-quality black and white video released by the US military. The new pictures – clearer and colored – appear to be screengrabs from aerial footage of the incident.
The pictures show a speedboat, said to be Iranian, approaching the Japanese-owned tanker 'Kokuka Courageous' from the starboard side and removing a device that Pentagon insists is a limpet mine. According to Washington, this imagery somehow proves that Tehran was behind the attack.
"Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine," the US military said in a statement.The ‘Kokuka Courageous’ and the Norwegian-owned ‘Front Altair’ were damaged when sailing through the Gulf of Oman on June 13, when they were rocked by explosions and fires. The US rushed to blame Iran for the incident, with President Donald Trump saying that the evidence obtained by the US has “Iran written all over it.” Teheran dismissed the claims, suggesting the incident might have been a “false-flag” operation, the kind of operations the US has a vast experience in.
The US has repeatedly invoked the increased threat from Tehran to build up its forces in the region, sending B-52 strategic bombers, a carrier strike group, a battery of Patriot missiles and 1,500 more troops to Iran's doorstep. A few hours after the Pentagon released the footage, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that another 1,000 troops would be deployed to the Middle East, citing “credible intelligence” allegedly proving Iran’s “hostile behavior.”