(SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYING: "Iran is lashing out." In an escalation of tensions with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Tehran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that left one adrift and the other in flames.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYING: "This is only the latest in a series of attack instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests." Pompeo cited intelligence, the type of weapons used, and the sophistication of the assaults, but declined to provide specific evidence pointing to Iran.
A source said a Norwegian-owned ship was abandoned after an explosion set it ablaze.
The second, a Japanese-owned tanker, suffered an attack that breached its hull.
No one has claimed responsibility for the two attacks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the incidents as "suspicious" on Twitter.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attacks at a meeting of the U.N.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL, SAYING: "Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified and if there is something the world cannot afford, is a major confrontation in the Gulf Region." The incidents happened just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was wrapping up a visit to Tehran.
Abe was delivering a message from Trump, demanding Iran curb its military activities in the region and return to the negotiating table over the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew.
Trump thanked Abe via Twitter but said it was, quote, "too soon to even think about" a deal with Iran.