Fire and smoke billow from the Norwegian owned Front Altair tanker, which was said to have been attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for attacks earlier in the day on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route through which much of the world's oil passes.
"Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted," Pompeo said without citing specific evidence as to why Tehran was responsible.
"No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.".
"The international community condemns Iran's assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians," he said, adding that the U.S. will defend its forces, interests and partners.
Oil prices rose as much as 4% on Thursday on renewed fears of conflict in the Middle East after a series of strikes last month.
Crude futures briefly jumped back above 3% after Pompeo accused Tehran of being involved in the latest attacks. »