If indeed Iran is behind recent attacks on several tanker ships carrying petroleum products, action by the world community — not just the United States — may be necessary. But as of Thursday, only circumstantial evidence of Iranian complicity had been provided.

One was on that day that two more oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, about 25 miles from the Iranian coast. One ship is owned by Norway, the other by Japan. Both were damaged heavily, with many or all crew members evacuated. A U.S. Navy vessel assisted in getting the sailors to safety.

In events similar to those in other attacks this year, both tankers caught fire after explosions. There was some speculation limpet mines were used. Such devices can be attached magnetically to ships’ hulls, then detonated by timers or by remote control.

What is curious about Thursday’s events is that one of the attacked tankers was owned by a Japanese firm.

Just a day before the explosions, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Tehran, meeting with Iranian officials in an effort to defuse tensions between that country and the United States. Abe said he told Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei he believes U.S. President Donald Trump wants to de-escalate the situation.

After the attacks, Iranian officials pointed out it would have been strange for them to target a Japanese ship immediately after a diplomatic meeting involving that nation’s leader.

Indeed, Iranian leaders would be foolish to do anything that might alienate a nation with which they are attempting to maintain friendly relations.

But, students of history during the past few decades will recall that Iranian leaders sometimes behave in what many would term an irrational manner.

Before any conclusions that could lead to armed conflict are reached, thorough investigations of the tanker attacks are needed. A confrontation may be necessary — but it simply must not be based on anything except concrete proof.

(5) comments

paulgarber

What's with this prejudice against the Iranian government? It's petroglobalism embedded in zealous minds. Stop the provocations and be the hero when needed not when wanted.

Donald

Unfortunately, governments have historically been quite adept at manufacturing incidents or taking advantage of incidents and manipulating facts so as to provide moral cover for a war they had already decided to initiate for reasons usually unknown to the citizens/subjects at large. Our government is no different in this regard. One only has to think back to the Gulf of Tonkin excuse for massively increasing our military presence in Viet Nam and its long term disastrous results. Or, more recently, the campaign waged by folks such as Mr. Bolton to deceive the American people into supporting the invasion and occupation of Iraq, again based on false premises with disastrous long term results. An important question to ask when being presented with the claims currently being made about the attacks on a Norwegian ship and a Japanese ship is who benefits? I would suggest that the Iranian leaders would not benefit from provoking or providing the US government with an excuse to obliterate them. Like most control freaks they want to stay alive and in power. So, who would benefit? Well, two very obvious beneficiaries of the destruction of Iran would be Saudi Arabia and Israel. I agree with the editorial in calling for concrete proof before taking action, if any. Mr. Bolton and his fellow collaborators were able to make Mr. Bush their sock puppet with disastrous results. Hopefully Mr. Trump will not allow himself to also succumb to that role.

newshound

Sure, Bolton's hired help paddled over in the Iranian boat and removed the limpet mine from the oil tanker ... Let's get that senile Mueller on the job for another taxpayer-funded investigation into collusion by Bolton and all those collaborators. The daffy Dems running for President will have fresh talking points for the faux debates.

newshound

How naive can you be? Who else besides those psychotic iranian mullah's would do it?

DeftCurmudgeon

Well, there's that video...

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