United States and Saudi Arabia say Iran behind tanker attacks

Brent crude oil edged higher on Friday, rising 0.34% or US$0.21, to US$61.56 as of 6.00am GMT.

American officials on Thursday released images that showed that Iran was involved in the attack on an oil tanker near the Persian Gulf.

According to navy captain Bill Urban of the United States (US) Central Command in a Bloomberg report, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol boat ‘was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous,’ one of two tankers attacked on Thursday.

That was after another mine had already detonated, damaging the ship, the US said. Earlier on Thursday, US secretary of state Michael Pompeo had pinpointed Iran as the culprit behind the attacks.

Saudi Arabia has agreed with the US that Iran was behind the suspected attacks, said Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

‘We have no reason to disagree with the (US) secretary of state. We agree with him,’ Mr Jubeir told American media CNN. ‘Iran has a history of doing this.’

Iranian officials have denied the accusation. The country’s foreign minister Javad Zarif in turn said that Iran’s enemies could be the real culprits behind the attacks and reiterated calls for a regional dialogue.

Brent crude oil edged higher on Friday, rising 0.34% or US$0.21, to US$61.56 as of 6.00am GMT. US West Texas Intermediate climbed 0.23% to US$0.12, to US$52.32.

Oil prices up on Thursday following the attacks on two tankers

The two tankers were reportedly attacked on Thursday morning, causing oil prices to shoot up by more than 4%.

Brent crude traded higher to as much as 4.5% before coming down to US$62.10 per barrel at around 11.15am GMT on Thursday, while the US West Texas Intermediate rose more than 1.5% to US$52.68 per barrel.

The tanker Kokuka Courageous was attacked twice on Thursday, spread out three hours apart, and had forced its crew to evacuate, its operator Kokuka Sangyo said. The tanker was transporting 25,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Asia.

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